One potentially divisive area that often catches parents off-guard is the method of parenting. It’s not usually on the docket for one of those late night conversations associated with young love before we tie the knot. But, as in most areas that divide, parents can work in unison when they identify and prioritize the goal over the method. When the goal is clear, methods become less of a dividing point and more of a catalyst to help serve that goal.
The primary goal in biblical parenting isn’t solely to create independent or strong or wealthy children. The primary goal in biblical parenting is to introduce our kids to the life-changing power of Jesus Christ. If our kids learn to hear from God what He says about them and what they’re created for, we have succeeded in the most eternal aspect of our calling as parents. My wife and I have been married almost 18 years and have two children, who are 4 and 10. We talk almost weekly about how we are each doing in three areas: as spouses, parents and pastors. We each speak lovingly and honestly into each other’s lives to remain unified and fruitful. We discuss, and even debate, our styles of parenting but always land on using methods that ensure our kids see the love and grace of Jesus while recognizing the authority and honor He and His established Kingdom deserves. We have agreed on how we will love and discipline our kids to reflect those values, and are focused on the goal enough to course-correct when needed.
When Jesus prayed for His disciples in John 17, He prayed for unity among us. In what may be the most challenging thing He says in the prayer, He mentions that when the world sees us unified, they see Jesus. The way we parent matters, yes, but our unity under the wisdom that scripture offers in parenting is where our kids will see Jesus, the goal of it all. ■