As I’ve written before, I don’t know much about being a parent. To be perfectly frank, the idea of fatherhood terrifies me. How am I qualified to raise a human being? How can two people even hope to juggle a child’s health, safety, education, and development? What about their happiness?
I’ve been told that last one can be especially difficult for parents. Every mother and father wants their child to be happy. Whether it’s through following their dreams, or finding the right partner, a parent is usually the one person who has to support in their child no matter what. Unfortunately, sometimes what’s best for a child goes directly against their happiness. Over at the True Woman Blog, Christiana Fox explains how, as a Christian mother, her children’s happiness is not her top priority.
“When we seek happiness apart from God, we're seeking a false substitute. That's why such happiness is temporary and fleeting. It wears off once everyone stops singing the birthday song and the toy we bought breaks. And so we seek to find something else to replace that missing feeling.”
“The question we have to ask ourselves is, What is our ultimate goal for our children and what are we doing on a daily basis to pursue that goal? And second to that is, What are we teaching our children about pursuing that goal? They say that what you spend your time and money on reveals what is most important to you. Based on how we spend our time and money, are we teaching our children that the pursuit of happiness is their ultimate goal in life?”
Being a Christian means setting boundaries, and the same is true for being a parent. It’s recognizing that the things we want are not always the things we need. In fact, sometimes they are the very thing which brings us down. Sharp readers may recall the shot-story of Don the Rabbit in Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz, where a rabbit pursues a carrot across the world before eventually capturing and eating it.
Unfortunately, the rabbit then chokes on the carrot and dies. This tale symbolizes the dangers and futility of worldly pursuits, and children today are being pressured to join in. As for Fox, she believes the first responsibility of all Christian parents is to point their children toward the one who brings true fulfillment.
“Our children will never know completeness and wholeness apart from Christ. Apart from Him, they will wander in a desert life, searching to fill their thirsty soul through empty and meaningless things. We need to teach them that they were created to enjoy God and that only He can satisfy their deepest longings. Being in relationship with our Savior gives us a deep abiding joy that stays with us through the ups and downs of life in a fallen world.”
“Our purpose as parents is not to make our children happy. It's not even to provide a life for them that leads to a good education, a high-paying job, or whatever else our society values. Our goal each day is not to give them things or experiences that keep them busy and out of our hair. Rather, we are to lead, guide, and teach our children their twofold purpose in life-to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
Being a parent is not easy. Our children will be told the highest aim in life is to gratify themselves, and do whatever feels right to them. But God has called us to be more than this, knowing that our wildest imaginations cannot fathom the plans he has for us. C.S. Lewis sums it up perfectly when he writes,
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
What about you? What are your thoughts on being a Christian parent? Be sure to leave a comment in the space below!
*Ryan Duncan is the Entertainment Editor for Crosswalk.com