Parenting is one of the greatest joys and responsibilities in this life. Few things produce greater humility or furnish greater rewards. Though I feel inadequate for the task, I love being a Daddy (I am hoping they never get too “grownup” for Daddy and start calling me Dad or Father)! I continue to receive “on the job training,” but here are a few commandments I long to live by as I continue to labor in this wonderful vineyard called Christian parenting (maybe you would have some “commandments” to add below).
1. Thou shall not worship thy children or their future
We live for the glory of God and seek to parent in light of our highest calling. As much as we love our children, we do not live for them.
2. Thou shall not expect or portray thyself as a perfect Christian family
We and our children are sinners in need of grace. We do not expect perfection from ourselves, we dare not expect it from our children.
3. Thou shall not exchange the Christian faith for mere moralism in thy children
We desire children living moral lives, but not by a bare morality. We labor and pray to see their lives reflecting a heart renewed by the love of Christ.
4. Thou shall not be impatient with thy sons and daughters (or even their teenage friends)
We want to show the same long-suffering and patience to our children the Lord graciously extends to us (as much as we can). Irritation, anger, and a quick temper crouch at our door and we endeavor to keep them at bay.
5. Thou shall lead thy children in regular family worship and journey to the house of the Lord weekly
We are Christian parents and worship is the heartbeat of the Christian. Thus, worship occupies a central place in our Christian parenting. Day in and day out, week in and week out, month in and month out, year in and year out, we aspire to place our children in the way of the means of grace (Word, sacraments, and prayer) and involve them in the greatest of all earthly (and heavenly) pleasures: worshiping the Triune God of the universe.
6. Thou shall enjoy thy children and be demonstrative in showing affectionate love to them
We desire that our children always know the treasure they are and are at rest in the assurance of our love. They are a gift from above (James 1:17) and we rejoice in thanksgiving for them.
7. Thou shall nurture thy marriage for the good of thy children
(For those parents who are married) We know our marriage serves as the cornerstone of our Christian family. We dare not see it askew, failing, or lacking vitality, for its health or sickness will be reflected in our parenting.
8. Thou shall seek the Lord with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength knowing it is the foundation of Christian parenting
We recognize that Christian parenting cannot be separated from our life in Christ. The overflow of a filled cup benefits what is below.
9. Thou shall not depend upon thy own strength, but that of Christ’s in parenting
We believe that apart from Christ we can do nothing (John 15). We desire to sow seeds bearing eternal fruit and so must rely upon the Eternal Gardner.
10. Thou shall ultimately entrust thy children to the care of thy Heavenly Father
We love our children and desire their good, but have not the power to secure it. But we know One who does and He is our Father, who loves us and desires our good. And we can trust Him; He knows how to give good gifts to His children (Matthew 7).