The Eight P’s of Parenting
The Eight P’s of Parenting
We want the best for our kids. Often that means we want them to become wealthy and famous. We want them to grow up to be successful college grads. We want them to be deliriously happy with an amazing spouse and a big house and 2.5 shiny-faced children.
Those are fine things, but they all miss out on the one important thing—that our children be diligent Christians and productive servants of God, that they have a strong faith of their own which lasts a lifetime. That they are heaven-bound (Mark 8:36).
How is that accomplished? In the next few bulletins, I will present eight ways parents can help work toward the salvation of their kids.
Let me begin with a word of warning: while this is a needful, practical, and uplifting topic, it also has the potential to be upsetting, especially for those who have already raised children who have taken a different path. I do NOT write these bulletins to condemn, nor to lay blame at anyone’s feet! While these Biblical admonitions are meaningful and important (Proverbs 22:6), children ultimately are free moral agents who will choose to serve God or not to serve God based on a great many factors. Amazing parents often have children who become wayward; rotten parents sometimes have children who become faithful. It’s a complicated thing, and it’s impossible to say, “Had I only done this, things would have turned out differently.” Surely, even those done raising their children would agree that the Bible has a lot to say about this subject, and that we should teach it boldly to young parents (Titus 2:4).
Remember, there’s still time to reach out to our adult kids with the gospel!
Provide for Them.
If we are going to bring children into this world, we must take seriously the responsibility to provide them with food, shelter, clothing, and education.
Tim Parker writes in Investopedia.com (“The Cost of Raising a Child in the United States,” January 09, 2022), “According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average cost of raising a child to age 18 was $233,610 as of 2015. With an annual adjustment for inflation of 2.2% each year factored in, the lifetime cost of raising a child born in 2022 could be estimated at $272,049. Those numbers don't include the additional cost of sending a child to college.”
I dispute that number as ridiculously inflated, but we all would agree that it’s not cheap. Children, from diapers and formula, to school uniforms and backpacks, to band instruments and driving lessons, are an expense we must be prepared to meet through hard work and careful budgeting. Children are a responsibility that will require us to sacrifice our own desires. Of course, I’m not suggesting that it’s a good idea to put them in designer clothes and $400 sneakers. But if we must drive jalopies so that our kids can reach their potential—or simply have some lunch money—it’s a worthy sacrifice.
We must work hard and exercise self-control to financially support our children. This may seem obvious, but deadbeat dads are an increasing problem in our society. And, there are other fathers who spend all their earnings on alcohol or hobbies, so that there is nothing left for the family. Parents must be responsible breadwinners (Gen. 3:17-19; 2 Thess. 3:6-13; Eph. 4:28). The Bible says, “if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8). Provide for your kids!
Pray for Them.
Since human parents are finite beings, who cannot be everywhere at once, it is important to request the help of our eternal all-seeing Father. Job prayed and offered sacrifices for his children continually (Job 1:2-5). Samson’s parents prayed, “O Lord ... teach us what to do for the boy who is to be born” (Judges 13:8). Hannah prayed for the blessing of even having a child (1 Samuel 1:11, 19)! Parenting is one area where it is especially vital to ask for God’s help. “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it ... Behold, children are a gift of the Lord” (Psalm 127:1, 3).
If God could protect Moses in the Nile, He can protect our children when we cannot be there, when they go to school, when they get car keys and begin to drive. Remember that prayer is a truly effective part of receiving God’s blessing. It can allow God to intercede on behalf of our children. Pray for their safety, pray for their faith, pray for their salvation, pray for them to find a good spouse. And of course, prayer helps our parenting anxieties, too (Philippians 4:6)! Pray for your kids!