What is the Goal of Parenting?

Proverbs 19:18 NRSV
Discipline your children while there is hope;
do not set your heart on their destruction.


Years ago—many years ago—the majority of parents in America knew how to raise their children. How do we know this? Because we were a nation of moral adults, adults who knew how to discern right from wrong and knew that they shouldn't choose wrong. Yes, there were some indiscriminate sins, but on the whole, America wanted to be a moral nation.

No longer. Now we raise children who are self-indulgent, who want to remain children, who only want to play and have fun.

We have failed in our task as parents.

The Hebrew word translated here as "discipline" means "bind, chasten, chastise, correct, instruct, punish, reform, reprove, sore, teach" (Strongs H3256). And the word is used in the imperative form. There is an insistence; this is a command.

Moreover, the command is coached in a warning: "Discipline your children while there is hope." In other words, there will be a time in your child's life when there is no hope. Why? Because there was a lack of discipline.

Most Christian parents don't realize that their parenting is strongly influenced by the evolutionary mind of American society. When we give our children choices without strategically determining how that's done and why we are doing it, we are reinforcing that our children are individuals with their own right to determine morality. Now, for most Christians, that's a novel thought. We parent by copying what we see around us or what we read and we don't stop to analyze why we parent the way we do. The fact is, we may be parenting our children to destruction without even realizing it.

Dr. John Ankerberg (with Dr. John Weldon) wrote an article about relative morality. In summary, he said this:

"Morality is defined by every individual according to his own views and interests. Morality is ultimately relative because every person is the final authority for his own views" (http://www.johnankerberg.org/Articles/science/SC0999W3.htm)

Do you believe that your children have the right to their own opinion? Do you see no harm in allowing your child to choose? By believing that some/many choices are harmless and have no relation to morality, you may actually be parenting your children to destruction. How? You may be instilling a sense of entitlement and self-indulgence in them without even realizing it.

What is the goal of parenting? It is to produce godly adults. Our children will not become mature Christians {{poof}} at 18. They grow up to become mature Christians as we discipline them. If we fail to parent, then we have actually set our hearts on their destruction because we didn't care enough to do our God-appointed job.

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Copyright by Robin L. O'Hare.
All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
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