Passionate About Your Influence as a Parent?
Read time: 3.5 minutes | by Mark Carter with Laura Forman
Whether you’re a parent, parent-to-be, grandparent, or are lucky enough to mentor kids in some way, we influence the younger generation.
It’s easy to pick apart what other parents seem to be doing wrong.
It can be much harder to see our own weaknesses.
But as far as it depends on us, we need to be stirred up about positively (and relationally) influencing our children.
Bring Them Up
In these all-important relationships, we need to harness the Holy Spirit’s strength and guidance and take full ownership of our God-given responsibilities as a parent.
The Lord instructs in parents in Ephesians 6:4:
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (NASB95, emphasis added)
To bring up our children, as scripture instructs, means to nourish.
Nourish can be defined as providing what’s needed for health, growth, and good condition.
Nourishing happens in the context of relationship. The problem is we live in a culture that values, reinforces, and is hyper-focused on positive experiences at the expense of relationships.
We see kids over-scheduled with sports and extracurricular activities, families always on the go. While these experiences are good in and of themselves, they become detrimental when we’re so focused on “doing” that we miss out on the relationship that will shape our children as they grow into adulthood.
It’s easy to be ‘experience rich and relationally poor.’
When it comes to our kids, we might feel great that:
- We checked some things off our “cool experiences” list,
- Got them into a top notch college
- Or took some enjoyable trips
But have you:
- Looked your children in the eye lately?
- Initiated a little more in-depth conversation?
- Insisted on dinner together?
- Told them how proud you are of them and that you always believe in them?
None of this is easy, and the world we live in won’t try to help you.
Still, anything God calls us to do, He will give us the wisdom and strength to accomplish (if we ask for it). As we make it a priority to equip our kids, we can be confident that the Holy Spirit will equip us.
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. (2 Corinthians 12:9 NASB95)
Here is some GREAT news: We don’t have to do it by ourselves!
We’re candidates for God’s Power the moment we admit our need for His grace!
When it comes to equipping our kids (with the Holy Spirit’s help), here are some questions I’ve found helpful to prayerfully meditate on:
- What am I doing to enhance my child’s relationship with me, to bring them closer to me?
- What am I doing to advance my child’s relationship with God?
- What am I doing to influence my child’s relationships outside the home, toward positive role models?
Lord, Father, I admit my weakness and ask for your grace to parent my child well. Embolden me to break through relational barriers to show your love in new ways. Empower me to step into the responsibility to intentionally influence the relationships in my child’s life, for your glory. Bring to light moments of decision, when it’s between you God, and the world, and help me always choose you and your ways. In Jesus’ name.
Want to go deeper? Pick up the Grace for Parents series at the store.