School has started.
Even though summer has another month on the calendar, it has already ended. Schedules, grades, behavioral concerns, homework, and extra-curricular activities once again have center stage. Of course, all of life’s regular challenges are still present: financial issues, home and car maintenance, issues at work, relational struggles, problems at church, appointments, etc. In the midst of all this day-to-day turmoil your children can begin to feel less like a blessing and more like a burden.
It is one thing to say that your children are a blessing to you and that you delight in them. It is another for them to actually believe this. Don’t misunderstand, failing to discipline and teach your children is not an option. But neither is having them believe they are not a blessing to you. Even in discipline they must be secure in the reality that you delight in them.
Much of school and its related activities is about performance. Report cards are the measure of success. But ultimately, evaluating performance is not the true measure of a child’s worth. No child can bear the weight of thinking he has to measure up to a standard in order to be appreciated. Academic struggles are not a measure of worth. Neither is academic excellence. Do your children know this?
Yes, you want your children to do well in school. But when they struggle are they worth less? When they excel are they worth more? The gospel says no to both questions. Yes, you want your children to serve God by being diligent in their school work. They need to learn discipline and to be hard workers. But these things must be done for the glory of God and not for the approval of parents.
Only the liberating power of the gospel can bring true balance to parenting. The Lord disciplines you without condemnation. Do your children have the same assurance? Do they know they are loved by parents who have been forgiven, by parents who treat them as God’s precious gift, regardless of their performance?
Parents, this is not an extra credit assignment. Your love and acceptance must be based on the gospel.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
…for the Lord reproves him whom he loves,
as a father the son in whom he delights.