Sacred Parenting: Chapter 1 Papa God
Am reading through Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas, the same guy who wrote Sacred Marriage which has been immensely insightful in helping me through this marriage journey. Thought I’ll jot down some key points from each chapter as I go along to remind myself of the learnings.
Chapter 1: Papa God
If It was going to be easy to raise kids, it never would have started with something called labor. – Anonymous
I soon discovered that my own passion and hunger for God seemed just as directly related to my duties as a parent.
The process of raising children requires skills that God alone possess.
Why have children?
When we realise that having children isn’t about us but is rather about God, then the trials and sacrifices of parenting are more easily borne… To pin our hope and joy on the response of any given sinner is a precarious move at best. To pin this same hope and joy on the response of a sinner in his or her toddler years is to beg for disillusionment and to risk waking up in despair.
Let’s accept that both marriage and parenting provide many good moments while also challenging us to the very root of our being. But let’s also accept that this is God’s call and part of his plan to perfect us. Once we realise at we are sinners and the children God has given us are sinners, and that together, as a family, we are to grow toward God, then family life takes on an entirely new purpose and context.
“Dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” 2 Cor 7:1
Paul first tells us to focus on purifying ourselves, not our children. Many of us are tempted to focus on purifying our children that we neglect our own spiritual growth. Parenting is like an airplane emergency. Before takeoff, every passenger is instructed that if the oxygen masks come down, parents should put on their own masks first before attending to their kids. Why? Because in an emergency, kids need their parents to be able to think clearly. If we don’t take in spiritual oxygen, our kids will ultimately suffer.
“out of reverence for God”
Child-centred parents act nicely toward their children only when their children act nicely toward them. A child-centred parent goes out of her way as long as her children appreciate her sacrifice. A child-centred parent bases his or her actions on the kid’s response.
A God-centred parent, on the other hand, acts out of reverence for God. When God does not supply our motivation, we tend to major on the minors. We may raise a courteous and obedient child, but we won’t pass on what is of ultimate importance.
Our own spiritual quest must drive our parenting. Unfinished or neglected spiritual business inevitably works its way out through our a relationships in a negative way. When we neglect God, we ask our marriage and our parenting to become stand-ins for God, something they were never designed to do.