The Fine Art of Parenting
Our pastor, Jim Swaney, recently gave a wonderful sermon on three kinds of fathers. I think it applies to mothers as well.
There are three kinds of fathers and mothers: absent, involved parent, strategic.
What turns a caring, involved father or mother into a strategic parent?
One who knows that his or her lifestyle must be consistent with the message taught.
Is intentional in passing on the blessing of unconditional love and acceptance.
Recognizes he/she is not raising children, but adults.
Has a clear vision for the spiritual and character progress of their child.
Seizes teachable moments in the child’s life
Understands that successful parenting is about the parent’s legacy. (Good parenting is never “do as I say, not as I do.”)
New York columnist David Brooks (“Why fathers leave their children”) learned that among the poor, pregnancy is rarely planned, especially among the rise of relationships that fall somewhere between a one-night stand and boyfriend-girlfriend. (We see it in Hollywood stars as well.) When women get pregnant, the majority of expectant fathers are against abortion, and most often start with earnest resolve to be good fathers. With no real bond (marriage), the men start looking for the woman to become the traditional, idealistic wife, and the woman starts looking to “trade up” to a better bread winner. A new boyfriend appears, out goes the biological father, and in comes the new guy and soon another baby is on the way. It is a formula for confusion and heartache.
The conclusion of the research in the article? For a man to succeed as a father, he needs to have practical bridges to get him where he wants to go rather than be stuck in a formless, romantic anarchy. In my opinion, the same goes for a woman. Free love? It’s a scam. The best kind of love is committed, sacrificial and grows over time.
God’s way: Find someone you love (who shares your faith), make a commitment (get married), take time to get to know one another (a year, at least), then have children, continue to work together, encouraging each other to use the gifts and talents God has given you individually for the betterment of your family and community as well as to enrich your life, work toward the common goal of rearing children to be faithful to God, compassionate to others and productive in our diverse world.
God’s way creates a stable family, and a stable family makes a stable society. A stable society is a blessing for all the world to see.