Parenting Purpose: The Basics
This is part 2 of 3 lessons introducing parenting. Please Study them in order to get the most out of the series. Click on the title below to go directly to the associated lesson.
Getting started as a parent requires an intentional effort to establish a parenting style. A great way to start out this process is to develop a core understanding of your purpose as a parent with your parenting partner. Intentional parenting teammates will do well to use the development of a Parenting Purpose Statement to begin the practice of forming parenting-style agreements.
A parenting purpose statement (PPS) is an agreed-upon statement that guides the parenting process over the life-cycle of the parenting partnership.
To get us started on the concept of parenting purpose – let’s look at an example of a PPS
Soliman provided a statement for parents to use as they consider the task God gave them of raising the children He entrusts to them.
- Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
This verse represents the essence of the purpose of parenting in that it explains what must happen first (training), and what the outcome goal is (commitment to God’s way).
The first thing you must know about this verse is that it should never be used by parents to self-condemn. It is not uncommon for parents who build their parenting-style around this passage to later condemn themselves as parents, because one or more of their children made a few serious wrong turns as they developed into their teen and adult years. Remember that the Lord gave man free will, and therefore even those you raise for the Lord have the ability to rebel.
According to the Dallas Theological Seminary, “A proverb is a literary device whereby a general truth is brought to bear on a specific situation.
In the case of Proverbs 22:6, the specific situation is the process of parenting, and the general truth is that a person properly trained in the ways of the Lord will always possess a knowledge of the right way – even if they choose to go another direction.
John Gill puts it this way:
…there are exceptions to this observation; but generally, where there is a good education, the impressions of it do not easily wear off, nor do men ordinarily forsake a good way they have been brought up in; …when, being come to years of maturity and understanding, their hearts are seasoned with the grace of God, they are then enabled to put that in practice which before they had only in theory, and so continue in the paths of truth and holiness.
So, there are exceptions, not to the validity of the Proverbs 22:6, but there is always a possibility that a person well informed about the way they should go will go a different direction. However, there is a greater possibility that such a person who goes astray will find their way back.
As far as the first part, “the way he should go” there is a hint of possession of purpose. The child being trained has a way that he or she should go –a way that is intended by God. Although the path is surely that narrow path that we are all called to follow, there is a way established by God, specific for each individual.
Adam Clark lays out a plan of parenting based on the idea that each child is an individual needing direct, focused, and intentional training from the moment he or she is standing at the beginning of their walk.
Initiate the child at the opening (the mouth) of his path.” When he comes to the opening of the way of life, being able to walk alone, and to choose; stop at this entrance, and begin a series of instructions, how he is to conduct himself in every step he takes. Show him the duties, the dangers, and the blessings of the path; give him directions how to perform the duties, how to escape the dangers, and how to secure the blessings, which all lie before him. Fix these on his mind by daily inculcation, till their impression is become indelible; then lead him to practice by slow and almost imperceptible degrees, till each indelible impression becomes a strongly radicated habit. Beg incessantly the blessing of God on all this teaching and discipline; and then you have obeyed the injunction of the wisest of men. Nor is there any likelihood that such impressions shall ever be effaced, or that such habits shall ever be destroyed.
This is the basis of the concept of Christian Outcomes Driven Parenting. It is through intentional parenting that your goal to raise children in such a way that they have everything needed to remain on the path in the way the Lord leads, or know the way back when they stray is accomplished.
In order to have the knowledge needed to train your child or children in the way they should go, you must prepare. So, let’s start this lesson by breaking down Adam Clark’s guide to parenting (above):
- Initiate the
child at the opening (the mouth) of his path.”
- Willing admit them to your family, the human race, and God’s Kingdom..
- When he comes to the opening of the way of life,
being able to walk alone, and to choose; stop at this entrance, and begin a
series of instruction.
- This refers to the moment that their walk begins. It is that moment whren they begin collecting the information they need to step into the path. We believe Clark is referring to the moment they are born, since this that time when parents begin having a tangeable impact on them.
- How he is to conduct himself in every step he
- Before he or she takes even one step, they must know how to properly do so.
- Show him or her their duties
- Set examples of behavior according to who they should be (Show = modeling) – intentionally prepare yourself to be that example.
- the dangers
- set boundaries and confine yourself to them (modeling safe practices)
- and the blessings of the path
- seek results that produce fruits.
- give him directions on how to perform the duties
- Teach them what you have learned about how to do best perform
- how to escape the dangers.
- Teach them what you have learned about boundaries, vigilance and discernment.
- how to secure the blessings
- Teach them what you have learned about producing and/or reaping fruits.
The Rest of the Story
- Fix these on his mind by daily inculcation, till
their impression is become indelible –
- Create good habits
- then lead him to practice by slow and almost
imperceptible degrees, till each indelible impression becomes a strongly
- Intentional Patient Parenting
- Constant focus leading to the development of quality habits
- Beg incessantly the blessing of God on all this
teaching and discipline; and then you have obeyed the injunction of the wisest
- Referrs to someone like Solomon who is wize in parenting
BEGINS WITH PRAYER
- Prayer for the preparation
- Prayer for the understanding of the word read
- Prayer for the teaching skill
- Prayer for the example set
- Prayer for the Guiding of the Holy Spirit
- Nor is there any likelihood that such impressions
shall ever be effaced, or that such habits shall ever be destroyed.
- Be strong and courageous.
God has High Standards for Parenting
- And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
God holds parents to a very high standard. Parenting is not something to take lightly since it is His desire that parenting be a thing parents do as a service to Him. God requires us all to love Him with our entire being and teach children to do the same.
- And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (Deuteronomy 6:5)
He directs parents to lock away in thier minds His word.
- And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: (Deuteronomy 6:6)
And he directs parents to spend every moment of thier children’s lives teaching them of Him and His word.
- And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deuteronomy 6:7)
God requires this because He needs these children, who He placed in their parent’s care, to know from where they came and what He expects of them.
As much as He has been intentional through the process of turning each child over to those who will raise them; He expects those who raise them to be intentional in teaching them from the Bible – and by example – to know the way they should go.
Take some time over the next several weeks to develop a PPS together. It is important for you do this as a team, as this exercise will cause you to actually work together as the parenting team. You will get a sense of the effort it takes to be in agreement on things that are vitally important.
If you do not have a parenting teammate available at the moment; do this yourself or ask a parent or mentor to help you with it.
BY: Mark Painter MCM/PC & Jody Painter CMM