I wanted to hit him. Because I was fighting. With everything I had, I was fighting… to enforce appropriate consequences, to be patient, kind and loving… to call my teens back from the precipice that leads to everything rotten, decrepit and unholy. I was just losing the fight.
Yet, it wasn’t a lame statement. It was Scripture. In his first letter to Timothy (chapter 6), Paul instructs his young disciple to avoid false teachers pushing a different doctrine that contradict the teachings of Christ. Paul reminds us all to be content with the food and clothing we have and to avoid the love of money. He says:
“…O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:11b-12 | ESV)….
What’s That Have to Do with Parenting?
I think sometimes we parents get distracted from stewarding our children. We forget this deal is all about training.
Training requires doing the same thing over and over again. When I was in art school, I spent hours working on the same vase. I sketched it with pencil. I used charcoal. I painted in oil, watercolor and acrylic. I photographed the vase and developed the film ten different ways. I was in training. It was hard… and boring. Some days, I felt like I had better things to do.
It’s easy to get distracted as we parent. Our smart phone calls, the house needs to be cleaned, and kids have a seemingly never-ending barrage of activities these days.
It’s easy to forget that we’re training our young men and women for something far more important than anything we’re distracted by. Just like the servants in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), we will be held accountable for the job we do stewarding that with which we’ve been entrusted.
We’ve been entrusted with little lives.
That’s a heavy responsibility.
Parenting isn’t easy. It’s sanctifying.
Parenting isn’t convenient. It clarifies our priorities and spotlights our heart issues in a way few endeavors in life can.
Parenting doesn’t always make us look good. It’s humbling.
So… Just… Keep Fighting the Good Fight.
Don’t hit me. I understand how hard parenting is. But let me encourage you to seek Christ and to work hard to disciple well the children you’ve been entrusted to steward. God gave you the children you have for a purpose. He hand-picked them just for you, and you for them.
He will equip you.
So, dear parents, make the tough decisions. Teach your children well. Flee discontentment and the love of money, but chase righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness and gentleness. Remember your littles (and not-so-littles) are in training. They’re going to need patient, loving instruction over and over again. They need you to make the tough choices and sacrifices that will benefit them for years in the future.
The irony of the situation? We parents are in training, too.
I don’t have any prescriptive parenting advice today. I just wanted to remind you that this deal is important. That you’ve been called by the Lord of Heaven and Earth to an important and valuable job. That this is a fight. It’s a good one. It’s worth fighting.
Love to you all, brothers and sisters in Christ.
Want to share the story of a man who fought the good fight with your middle and high school students? Check it out!
More Thoughts on Parenting
~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.