By Greg and Grace Gibson
Parenting is war. There is, and we can’t say this with enough emphasis, nothing more war-like in the spiritual realm than parenting. If you are a parent, than you understand this fierce posture that you live with daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. And as the years go by, we learn to parent from our experiences, the experiences of others, and under the grace of God that we are not perfect parents—and we never will be.
With that said, here are 10 principles which Grace and I attempt to keep at the forefront of our parenting, and great reminders—or resolutions, under the seasonal circumstances—to which we desire to resolve.
Resolve to pray, parent, work, and rest with the remembrance that God is good and in control. Period. This should be our entire posture as parents.
Resolve to joyfully display the Bible’s teaching on gender roles in your marriage and home. Ephesians 5 is the wellspring of joy when it comes to roles within marriage and the family. This means sacrificial headship for men, joyful submission for women, and glad obedience for kids.
Resolve to go on more dates. Pursue each other first. The healthier your marriage is, the healthier your family will be, and the healthier your pursuit of your children as a parent will also be. Be creative here, as there is no special number of dates in a week or month to make a marriage healthy. Only make it a priority to pursue one another often.
Resolve to remember that you are a team. At the very foundational level, this is who you are as a family. You are a team. When everything is stripped away—the house, cars, stuff, money, etc.—you remain together. It might be a good idea to have family meetings once a week, family worship, and scheduled and distraction free dinners. Parent this way. It changes everything.
Resolve to not discipline in anger. Have a plan for discipline, especially parents of younger children. Have a place, instrument of choice (never a hand), and method through which you walk as you discipline. Keep it consistent.
Resolve to not compare your parenting to other parents and the behavior of your children to other people’s children. Theodore Roosevelt once said that comparison is the thief of joy. The Bible actually has a boatload to say about it, too (e.g., Gal. 1:10; 6:4-5; 2 Cor.10:12; 1 Thess. 4:11-12; James 3:16; Prov. 14:30; 1 Cor. 3:3; and a whole host of other passages). It’s so easy to compare our parenting to others. This robs us of our joy, and reminds us of the sin that so easily entangles our hearts. Instead of comparison, commit to a posture of celebration in others.
Resolve to ask for advice and help more often. There is great wisdom found in an abundance of counselors. Don’t see advice or help as weak. In contrary, there is great strength there. Ask for help when you need it. Confess your weaknesses and failures, both to God and to one another.
Resolve to be less distracted and more present. Unplug when it is time to unplug. Eat dinners together that are screen-free. Plug back in when the kids have gone to bed, and maybe after you spend a few moments together. Be present.
Resolve to be gentle with your speech toward one another. Proverbs 15:4 says, “A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” How much does this verse apply to parenting?
Resolve to see parenting as training. As parents, you are training your children to leave your home one-day as biblical-worldview driven adults. Parenting is the journey, the mission, the practice, the progress, the training grounds, etc. This allows you to parent under grace, both for yourself and for your children.
So, as a new year approaches, let us resolve to these key principles as Christian parents. We can cast resolutions for weight loss, healthy eating, and other personal goals all day—and those things are all good things—however, if you are a parent, there is nothing more important in your life to which you can resolve than these things.
We resolve to these principles. Will you join us?
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