The Reformed Life

Equipping followers of Christ to live in a manner worthy of their calling

Intentional Parenting

I am not a perfect parent or an expert on parenting by any means. I make mistakes in parenting daily and I fight my own selfishness every day. I get angry at my kids when I should show grace and patience, I choose my sinful desires over serving my kids, and I let housework become a priority over my kids wants. There is no perfect parent, but we serve a perfect God. While we parent, we are serving God in those mundane moments and glorifying Him.

As we all are facing new challenges during this time of social distancing and being in the home more, I thought it would be a great time to refocus on being intentional in our parenting. I understand the exhaustion that we get from our kids. I have three kids ages three and under. I get it. However, these mundane moments are not moments we should just let slip by because we are tired. Abbey Wedgeworth said it best in a talk I recently heard, “Let’s celebrate moments of patience and obedience together. Let’s find joy in serving each other while giving God glory each and every day.”

Here are some practical things we can all do together as we parent.

Teach them

This might seem like a silly thing to mention since everyone right now is in teacher mode while schools are out. This has different facets that are important to mention. First, teach them the Scriptures. Deuteronomy is clear on the command for parents to train up their Children in the way of the Lord. Friends let’s not take this command lightly. We can share the gospel with them in times of discipline or over breakfast, do bible stories with them, or challenge them with questions. My three-year-old, even at a young age, is able to answer some questions from the new city catechism lists, and recites verses to us.

Never limit your children’s ability because of their ages. Remember they see you and they follow you, so what is important to you will play out in their lives as well. What are we teaching our kids is more important today, the Word of God or our phones?

The other side of teaching is practical.

Let’s teach our kids things that are helpful and important. We can let our children bake with us while teaching them the importance of picking up afterwards. We can play games to pick up toys, or teach them the importance of hospitality. When they see mommy and daddy serving and loving others with joy, because of Jesus, they will want to do the same. Recently my daughter and I on valentine’s day got to take some flowers over to an elderly neighbor who is all alone. I got to tell her why we were loving our friend and she got to see how important it was to our dear friend. These moments of compassion teach our children while also teaching us.

Celebrate with them

Sometimes throughout the day or in the middle of a full blown-out tantrum it can be very easy to forget that our children are tiny little humans striving to be independent and do what they want. If your children are like mine and have not professed faith in Christ, then they also are sinners in need of Jesus. So, we must remember that they actually are doing what we would expect any sinful human being to do, serving their own desires. This does not mean we just excuse their actions because it is their nature, rather we use discipline to share the gospel with them and point them to Christ.

When they do choose to obey us, we must be quick to celebrate with them. As a three-year-old, my daughter wants to do what she wants. At times when we talk, she will tell me “I don’t want to listen mom.” I get it. She is satisfying her flesh in those moments. When she then decides to obey and listen because it is what God commands us to do, we should praise them. Let them know how thankful we are that they chose to listen even though in their flesh they did not want to.

At times our children choose to not obey and sin anyways. These moments of discipline can be hard because typically it involves harsher discipline. In these times, we must lean on God for patience and wisdom and celebrate his goodness together. Whether our children obey or sin we must always lean on Christ and celebrate Him, because in both situations we are called to glorify Christ.

Learn about them

Our children are unique. They have likes and dislikes. They have different ways of doing things and have different passions than us or their siblings. Let’s take time to get to know our children. Try and do something with your children that they love or want to do. For instance, for Sawyer, it would look like dancing to some ballet music or playing house. For Titus, it would be throwing balls back and forth or acting like dinosaurs.  These mundane moments show our children they are important to us and matter. In return, it also gives us a chance to show them Christ’s love and giving us opportunities to connect with them.

In times of isolation or days of normal life, parenting always has its challenges. Friends join with me in remembering the gospel in the midst of parenting. Take time to teach your children, celebrate your children in those hard moments, and learn about them. The gift of parenting is not one we should take flippantly. Give yourself grace in parenting and rejoice in the moments you show patience when it is difficult to do. Remember everything we do is for the glory of God.

Soli Deo Gloria 

Courtney Chambers

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