Have you ever fallen asleep at the wheel? As a freshly engaged college student reporting back for R.A. training, I found myself driving through Kansas with my cruise control set at 78 MPH, fighting to stay awake on a sun-baked, August afternoon. Before I knew it, I was driving through weeds in the median trying to maintain control of a vehicle in distress. Kansas has a way of making the most alert, energy-drink-saturated driver fall into a cornfield-induced trance. Miraculously, after two serious fishtails, with one forcing my rear tires onto the on-coming traffic asphalt, I regained control, made my way back onto I-70 and continued with my journey, unharmed.
The road to raise up biological and spiritual children is also positioned between two perilous ditches: neglect and idolatry. Let’s examine the pitfalls of each with the goal of staying in the middle.
King Hezekiah of Judah, one of the greatest Hebrew kings to sit on the throne, was positioned to leave a noteworthy legacy at the end of his reign; a kingdom at peace, financial security, a reinvigorated worship of the true God, and a son to take his place. However, as the author notes in 2 Kings 20:19, Hezekiah was more concerned about his selfish pursuits than the work of raising up a qualified heir. As a result of his neglect, his son Manasseh—the longest reigning king of the Hebrew people—led the nation of Judah astray. Under the reign of Manasseh, the nation of Judah did more evil than any of the surrounding nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites. (2 Kings 21:9b)
Mother Teresa said, “It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.”
To guard against neglect, here are some words of encouragement for parents of biological and spiritual sons/daughters:
- Become a student – of parenting AND your child. The information age is ripe with resources. I recommend these parenting absolutes:
- Why Your Family of Origin Impacts Your Life More Than Anything Else – Podcast from Adam Young
- “Questions In A Box” app available on the App Store and Google Play. Sometimes we need a prompt. This tool will get you started on your way to further know your child’s heart.
- Plan ahead – the transition into school, adolescence, puberty, driving, leaving the nest, an impending promotion, an out-of-state move are ripe opportunities for equipping our children to meet challenges head on.
- Passport to Purity – Dennis and Barbara Rainey. Prepare your child to make wise, biblical choices about friendships, growing to sexual maturity, moral purity, and relationships with the opposite sex.
- The good ol’ days are now – reminiscing at an unhealthy rate or inversely, constantly looking to the next season of development will cause us to miss the present. Be present today!
Listen to a talk on the topic here.