A Mini Philosophy for Parenting

Philosophy of Parenting in Brief 

 

A dictionary definition of a parent isn’t very flashy; “… any organism in relation to one that it has produced…” Now, this does confirm that parenting comes with having children whether we like it or not. The only question is how we go about it. We can team up with a spouse or go it alone. We can take it as it comes, or have a plan. We can give it our best time or just what’s left over after other priorities. We can parent by just being there when needed or we can intentionally shape our children. We can parent from a distance or up close and personal. We can be buddies or a drill sergeant. We can let the “village” play lead or we can be the first team. We can even decide to parent by not parenting. In short, we have choices galore.

 

I want to briefly lay out three basic principles that I believe should shape the choices we make in parenting. I am only setting the stage here. So, here we go.

 

 

  • First, good parenting settles the issue of authority. What I mean by this is simply the question of who you are going to listen to. Where will you get guidance? We are all looking for help; we all want a subject matter expert that we may turn to for advice, especially when we experience difficulty in sorting things out.
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  • The Bible is first. No theory, person, organization can be allowed to take precedence over Scripture in this critical area. The Bible does clearly speak to this matter. Run to it first. Why? 
  • Because the Bible is not only God’s instructions regarding eternal life, it also contains His instructions regarding life on earth. 
  • Because the Bible is sufficient for all contingencies of life. It contains all we need to know in order to live a successful life.  2 Timothy 3:16 "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."
  • All other voices are second. In my view, and that of this church, child psychology, personal opinions, cultural norms, governmental decrees, family practices, and modern medicine are not the first line of defense. Thus, all supplemental resources must be filtered through the grid of Scripture, not vice versa. Psychology, anthropology, sociology, or experience must not be placed on par with the Bible. 
  • Be preventive rather than reactionary. Settling this issue of authority is best done at the early stages of the parenting process; ideally before one becomes a parent. But, later is better than not at all. 
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  • Second, good parenting builds on fundamental understandings about children. What do we know about children in general and our kids in particular? My assumption is that our understanding of children should shape our parenting. The Bible does give us many insights regarding children. I mention only two. 
  • Every human being, including every child, is a sinner at conception. This means that there are no “innocent” children. Human beings, including children, are not innately good. When the precious little baby takes his/her first breath, a life of sin begins! Why, because you are the mother or father. The little baby got it from you!  Psalm 51:5 "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me."
  • Children need bringing up. Have you ever noticed that you don’t have to teach your children how to be selfish, or how to be devious, or how to wrongly desire what someone else has? If left to go their own way or to do what comes naturally, as a rule they will make the foolish choice. A significant part of God’s answer to this problem is parents! Here is your commission,  Ephesians  6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
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  • Third, good parenting comes to grips with personal responsibility. Perhaps you noticed that the task of parenting falls to “fathers” in Ephesians 6:4. This does not exclude mothers but it certainly does mean that fathers are to take the lead. Here is a sobering thought; you are accountable to God for how you fulfill your commission!
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    © Copyright. Joseph Flatt. 2015. All rights reserved. May be used for educational purposes without written permission but with a citation to this source.