Article originally appeared @ wesleyankids.org on May 26, 2014
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.
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Parenting is all about training
I was talking with a friend the other day who understands what it’s like to shepherd large groups of students. In a programmatic setting, leaders have to make it through the time allotted. Discipline and strategies are centered around how to manage in the time allowed, which means the same strategies don’t necessarily work at home.
As a pastor of children and teenagers, prior to having children myself, and because I am fairly proficient at it, I thought that parenting would be a breeze. After all, I had great success managing kids at church. Ha! How wrong that was!
Parenting is a grind because it’s just as the author states above: “requires doing the same thing over and over again.” I can’t tell you how many times I have to say the same thing to get my kids to obey. I can’t tell you how many times I have to repeat the same lesson over and over again. I can’t tell you how often I get frustrated because the lessons are so simple and the application so routine, but my children still balk at them like they were introduced for the first time.
Being reminded that parenting is all about training is helpful for me. Why? Because it helps me to remember that the two children God has entrusted my wife and I with are mine to shepherd. Shepherding requires routine and constant care, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Shepherding also requires an attitude of training which lightens my expectations. Instead of just wanting my kids to be quiet at the end of personally tiring day, perhaps I need to play with them and engage with them. My two girls need to be trained how to interact with adults, be responsible for chores, and play well with others and themselves. These lessons are passed down to them by my wife and I’s constant training and engagement, not just demanding obedience to an ideal apart from a relationship.
So be encouraged to continue to train your children. It’s worth it.