Friends, this is the last guest post before I take a two week break ~ I’ll be back January 2nd with a great new curriculum review. God bless your celebration of His grace in your life through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. ~ Danika
Hi, my name is Alecia and I am a preschool blogger at Learning 2 Walk . Today I will share with you How Understanding Total Depravity Helps With Parenting Your Kids.
Just in case you were not totally sure of what TOTAL DEPRAVITY is, I will give you a quick definition. Total depravity is the idea that every aspect of the human nature is corrupted by sin. We are not as bad as we could be but everything that we are is tainted with sin. Which means we naturally want sin and naturally don’t want God…..
Total Depravity and Parenting
What does total depravity have to do with parenting? And how can understanding total depravity help you (and me) be a better parent?
1) We won’t expect them to be perfect.
I am sure everyone wishes or thinks they have the perfect child. They look perfect, the are the most polite kid ever UNTIL… You know what I mean, the moment when you do a double take as they look you square in the eye and defy you. Our kids are not and will never be perfect. We as parents will never be perfect either- we are too corrupt. The sooner we realize this, the better our parenting expectations will be.
Think of it this way: if you give a child a pen and paper for the very first time and tell them to write the name of all 66 books of the Bible, you are simply creating the opportunity for your child to fail. They have never written a single thing before, they don’t even know how to do a basic stroke, and asking them to do that assignment adds unnecessary pressure and strain to the relationship. Your child WILL fail and you WILL be disappointed. You cannot expect your kids to do something that is impossible—to be perfect.
Understanding total depravity means knowing that your kids are going to need to be disciplined. You cannot expect your kids to turn out well without discipline. Total depravity means that they are going to gravitate towards what’s wrong. That’s why God needs to discipline us as Christians and that’s why he tells us in His word that we need to discipline our children.
…the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. ~ Proverbs 13:24 b (ESV)
3) We will be merciful
Now that we know that our kids cannot and will never be perfect it leads us to be merciful. Yes, they may seem like the worst children ever when they have stolen or lied or done whatever you believe is the most heinous thing, but remember God showed us mercy. He looked at us in our filth and instead of sending us to our death that we rightly deserved, He gave us the gift of eternal life through His Son. That is mercy.
There are times when you don’t always have to give the worst possible punishment you could imagine. If your child knows that they have made a mistake, and shows real sorrow for what they have done, you might want to think of lessening the punishment. Don’t let them take advantage of you of course, but in wrath remember mercy.
4) Grace filled
Mercy then leads to grace. Grace is when you give someone something that they don’t deserve. We as parents need to be ready to forgive and not hold things against our children for too long. When you are tempted to stay resentful towards your children, think about God’s grace towards you.
5) Humble Pie
Your kids are not the only sinners in the family, you are too. When your kids see you repenting and apologizing, it sets a good example for them as well.
6) No guarantees
Total depravity also lets us realize that, sadly, our children will not necessarily be saved. You cannot save your kids, the only person who can do that is the Holy Spirit. On one hand it takes the pressure off of you but it also means that we still have a responsibility: the Holy Spirit works through His Word so we need to ensure that we saturate our kids with it.
Here are some things that you can do:
– Make sure you bring your kids to church even when they start complaining about having to go.
– If your church has a kids program, make sure that you send them to it.
– If you love music, play music that is gospel centered.
– If you love to read to your kids, add Christian books to the lineup. Sure, Good Night Moon is a classic, but don’t forget to read them Bible stories so that the seeds may be sewn.
Every night both my husband and I pray with our kids. We pray for their health and the fact that we are thankful for them and we especially pray for their souls. We pray that they will have a relationship with Him once they are old enough to understand. I have an almost 3-year-old daughter and a 1-year-old son. We read Bible stories and my daughter now prays every night as well. She thanks God for her parents and brother. She also prays for whatever she deems is important. It could be as simple as the fact that she went to the playground or praying for a friend or relative.
Although we do all these things, we know that it is not a guarantee that our children will be saved but we want to make sure that we do our responsibility and trust God for the work that only He can do.
Alecia is a pastor’s wife, mother to 2 and blogger at Learning 2 Walk where she shares preschool lesson plans, preschool letter worksheets and preschool sensory activities that she does with her kids.
~ 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.