About 10 years ago an article called, “Exposing the 7 Major Blind Spots of Homeschoolers” went viral on social media. Even Christian parents who didn’t homeschool – like our family – shared it because the truths hit home.
Now that I’m parenting teens, I reread the article through a different lens. But I was once again challenged to confront my sin and misguided attempts to parent solely for the sake of raising “good Christian kids.”
Here are the points and questions I gleaned.
- No matter what I do as a parent, my child will make mistakes.
- I must reevaluate my dreams for our family to make sure that they are not selfishly driven.
- “Impressing” is about the heart, not the outward appearance and behavior.
- Am I sheltering my children from legitimate things or am I sheltering them to make parenting easier and to retain control?
- Am I merely talking about following Jesus, or is Christ in every step I take?
Let’s dive deeper into these five blind spots of Christian parenting.
Even Well-Trained Children Succumb to Temptation
“It was a rude awakening for me when I saw that even the best parenting could not exempt a person from making the wrong choice when faced with temptation. I do believe that by our influence we can greatly increase the likelihood our children will love and follow Christ, but I see nothing in Scripture that guarantees well-trained children will never succumb to temptation.”
This is a hard one to stomach. I want to do “ABC” followed by “XYZ” so that my children turn out to be amazing Christians. The truth is that there is no magic formula in parenting. Every child is unique and all children make mistakes. I need to see mistakes as learning opportunities that point my children to their need of a Savior.
My Personal Dreams for “Good” Kids
“It is only natural for parents to have high hopes and dreams for their children. However, when we begin to see our children as a reflection or validation of us, we become the center of our dreams, and the children become our source of significance. …When we believe we have achieved results with our children, we become proud of our accomplishments.
I see both points of this reflected in my parenting. I take credit for the good choices my children make. My child was quiet during church. My child can write his name. My child can quote the entire 23rd Psalm. My child... As I take credit for something positive my child did my dreams are fulfilled.
Yet when my child disobeys in front of others, I am embarrassed and feel my perfect, dream family is crushed.
Getting to the root, I see that the emotional roller coaster I am on is a result of my sin, not my child’s behavior (good or bad). I must separate my worth from my children’s choices, instead choosing God’s will for my children.
Impressing on the Heart or Controlling
“We assume if we give [our children] the Word of God, shelter them from harmful influences, discipline them consistently, and maintain high standards for their outside, that their inside will inevitably be shaped. …[But,] children are people – self-determining individuals – and they ultimately choose how they will respond to parental influence. … There is a great difference between intimidating children into subjection and winning their hearts into submission.”
Raising soldiers is relatively easy to do. You bark a command and they obey. You decide what they are exposed to, thus minimizing the negative and “controlling the outcome.” This style of parenting molds children’s behavior and appearance into exactly the image desired. The problem is that this misses the mark which for Christians is the heart. And, for some kiddos leads to rebellion.
We must “impress” their hearts. Train and mold. It goes beyond teaching children to obey my instructions. It means being Holy Spirit led so that I am shepherding, not controlling. Shepherding their hearts is developing and modeling servant attitudes and love for others through example and conversations that explore the “why” behind the action.
Read more…How to Change a Child’s Heart
The Blind Spot of Easy Parenting
“Our success in raising children to be lovers of God and others, is not going to be contingent upon achieving perfect sheltering or using the best Bible curriculum. It is going to be based on doing what we must as parents [and] trusting God for the outcome.”
I want to keep my children’s noses in the corner. Not because they are in trouble but because I want to keep them innocent. See, if my children aren’t exposed to tough issues, I don’t have to deal with the difficult issues. I can leave that for another day…or maybe let them deal with it when they are older.
Why? Because easy parenting is a strong motivator.
My goal must change from turning them into obedient children, so my job is easy, to winning their hearts for God. Obedience will be a biproduct.
Read more…God’s Agent or Supermom?
Genuinely Believe and Live
“I have observed that the best and most lasting fruit is born in families in which the gospel is genuinely believed and lived. Parents who daily depend upon God, and not their methods and self-working principles, are most likely to pass on their faith. I am convinced that the most contagious parenting is living a heartfelt faith before your children. …The best thing we can do to break away from a formulaic mentality and become a person of influence is to really grasp the grace of the gospel and live it out in our homes. For our children to see the beauty of the Savior in us we will need to find his beauty first.”
I am reminded time and time again…values are caught, not taught. If we truly want to raise children who love God and love others, we must daily depend on God and view His Word and prayer as our only hope. Read more…It’s More About What They See
Some heavy stuff! Dig deeper into this article here.
Thank you, friends, for walking this road with me.
Feel like you are walking the parenting road alone?
I invite you to grab your favorite podcasting app (or this website) and hop on the road with Melanie and me. In the Parenting to Impress podcast you will hear real, honest truths that we have learned during our combined 39 years of parenting to guard against the blind spots of Christian parenting. You’ll be encouraged and connected to this community as we all seek to parent well in Christ.