When Children are the Center

Posted on · Posted in Parenting

It sounds appealing and even noble to center life around your children. However, this thinking will only bring heartbreak instead of blessing. Only God can be the center of your life. Your children, or anyone else, cannot bear that weight! If your hopes and dreams are bound to your children, you will become disappointed, perhaps even bitter. If you expect your children to provide the comfort and support that can only come from God, you will be deeply hurt. You will set yourself up to be disappointed and crushed when your family fails you. No child, no spouse, no other person, can provide comfort that can only be found in God. God will have no other gods before him. Your first loyalty must be to God and God alone.

Children who have become the primary objects of their parents’ dreams and aspirations will either be crushed or alienated.  This unbalanced child focus is actually a form of relational abandonment. It is not the children who are being cared for, but the self-interest of the parents.

Parents, love God, love your spouse, and in love, prepare your children for the dangerous world that is waiting for them. This is love that truly cares for your children. Doing anything other than this will make your love for your children into an exercise of self-gratification.  Your children cannot be your salvation, any more than they can be their own. This self-serving, child-first focus will ultimately damage you, your children and your marriage. Attempting to save your life through your children will consume you and them. Do not live for your children. Live for God!

If you do not love God first, you will not be able to love your children well. Teach your children, even your toddlers, that they are not the center of your world. God has already claimed that position.


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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.