My wife and I went camping for a few days to escape the hurly-burly of the last few weeks. We went to a camping ground with lots of young families. As I was sitting reading a book I could not help but notice the parent-child interactions around me. If I had kept score I am sure that the children would have won most of, if not, all the battles. Nagging, tantrums, playing parents off against each other and many other youthful skills were in evidence.
I asked myself, why is there so much poor parenting? The only conclusions I could come to was that people have not been trained by their own parents and with family breakdown there is little continuity of parenting skills. Also, we have moved away from Biblical injunctions. Sadly, I have observed all three to be true within the church too – not just in a camp ground.
Church communities have a huge task. I say “communities” and not just leaders because I believe the whole church has a role to play. Let me suggest 3 strategies:
- What the Bible says about parenting needs to be taught intentionally. Families are crying out for this wisdom.
- Older (wiser) parents who have raised their children should mentor younger families – using their own experience of success and failure.
- The church itself should be a family friendly body acting as a beacon of hope for those who are struggling. Showing what “family” means, is a role that the church can play in in a disintegrating world.
But before we go rushing in we must ask ourselves, how Biblical is our parenting? A good starting point would be to remind ourselves what a Biblical parent and Biblical family looks like.