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The Goal of Parenting

Nothing in life is achieved by accident. If you want to be successful in life, you need to pursue that with purpose and intent. For example, if you want to run the comrades marathon, you don’t do that by accident; you need to train with purpose, eat on purpose, sleep on purpose, and buy your equipment on purpose. You need strategies on purpose.

For Cyril to be president, that didn’t happen by accident. After university, his purpose was to pursue an interest and later a career in politics, culminating in him becoming the president of South Africa. To be a good parent, it doesn’t happen by accident. It requires intent and purpose.

My favourite children’s story is The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy is told to make her way to Emerald City, and the way to get there is to stick to the yellow brick road. If she purposely follows the yellow brick, she will reach the city. ‘There were several roads nearby, but it did not take long for Dorothy to find the one paved with yellow bricks. Within a short time, she walked briskly to the city, her silver shoes tinkling merrily on the hard yellow road. Dorothy knew if she stayed on purpose on the yellow road, the Emerald City would be her destination. Where is our destination? What is our Emerald City as parents? Is it to raise good kids? Is it to raise good teenagers? Is it to raise well-adjusted citizens in society? All these goals fall short of the ultimate and biblical goal – to raise Godly, righteous, good parents. That is our goal. When we are long gone; our children are raising their children and grandchildren in the ways of the Lord.

Proverbs 22:6 – “​Train up a child in the way that he should go, and he will not depart from it, even in old age.”

Our goal is to be to our children how our Heavenly Father is to us. God is not raising us to be semi-mature spiritually.

In Hebrews, towards the end of Chapter 5 and beginning of Chapter 6 it says we need to leave the elementary truths of the faith and move on to maturity.

When Paul speaks to the Thessalonians, he says he feels like a father and a mother. Paul is a mature apostle who is like a father and a mother; we are to mature in Christ. As God is developing us spiritually, he is developing us into mothers and fathers so we can take care of others in the Kingdom. We want our children to become brilliant moms and dads.

If we take that as our goal, it shapes the way we approach parenting. It removes the short-term goal of obedience and compliance; it overrides the short-term goal of us wanting our children to fit into society. We are looking at a far greater end. What does the yellow brick road of parenting look like? We have to take this journey on purpose. If we don’t take this journey, our children will be raised as mothers and fathers discipled by social media, the values of society and friends. God has given us the responsibility to raise our children.

I would like to tackle this by using fourteen statements/ signposts which are along the yellow brick road. When my children saw a couple they really admired, they would throw out the statement ​#relationshipgoals.​ As young and impressionable teenagers, this would mean we like what we see, this looks like a power couple, and we want to emulate them.

I am going to coin this phrase but use it as ​#parentinggoals. Use these fourteen statements as ​#purposefulparentinggoals ​which we are going to pursue.

In the end, I would like to give you a challenge. You will be given a list of these fourteen statements, and as parents need to assess which parenting goals need some work. Hopefully, by the end of this course, we will have strengthened our resolve to pursue these issues.

  1. To be there on purpose

Being present, not just in bodily form but spiritually and emotionally): to be at sporting matches, at suppertime, putting them to bed you’re your Heavenly Father is present for you. When we are there for our kids it does something to their identity and self-worth.

  1. To listen to them on purpose

Like our Heavenly Father listens to us, when we are grumbling and moaning, He is always listening to us. To listen when they get dropped from their sports team or when they celebrate little achievements, to the cries of their heart.

  1. To love them on purpose

Every child is wired differently. We need to ask God to give us access to their hearts, to find a landing strip on their hearts where as parents you can connect with your child.

  1. To show them how to live on purpose

Our children learn far more by watching us than by listening to us. We are modelling how to live on purpose to our children; we need to expose them to personal disciplines, helping helpless people, to fun and laughter, to hard work and a good work ethic, and to understand responsibility in society. God has called us to be like Paul to the early church – follow me as I follow Christ. It is a daunting responsibility to live out our lives in full view and model what it is like to be a Godly mom and dad.

  1. To protect them as God protects you

In Zechariah it describes God as a hedge of fire around His children. Protection means when they are younger from physical danger but as they grow older, that moves to spheres of friends and environments, things you allow them to be exposed to and that require skills as they develop in age.

  1. To model relationships for them on purpose

God the Father, the son and the Holy Spirit model their relationship, one with another. We model our relationship with the world at large with the church, with our spouse, with the opposite sex, our friends, employees, bosses, the rulers of our land. We show our children how good parents relate to people. The ability to relate to other human beings is a skill to leave with your children.

  1. Speak life over your children on purpose.

Our words have the power of life and death. God speaks life over you and speaks His promise over you. Not mantras at night before you got to bed, which are pretty cool, but purposefully, permanently speaking life over our children.

  1. To discipline them consistently, righteously, on purpose

Not reactionary or neglectfully, but on purpose. In Hebrews Chapter 12 it speaks of our Father in Heaven that He disciplines us because He loves us and the result of that discipline is a harvest of righteousness. Our goal in discipline is a harvest of righteousness, of redemption. It is not punishment.

  1. To let them go as they grow on purpose

When your child is born you control everything. As they toddle around they become more independent. As they become teenagers you allow them to make more decisions, and eventually when they become fully grown or parents themselves they become autonomous. They have moved from dependent to friend. We need to let them go on purpose and as we give them increased spheres of responsibility they develop into the parents themselves as God intended them to be.

  1. To develop their confidence and identity on purpose.

When God gets hold of you He transforms you. He wipes away the guilt, and shame, and he takes you on a journey. He demonstrates Himself through you and as you grow and develop, you become stronger and stronger in your identity and purpose in Him.

  1. To teach them how to love.

Teach them how to relate to people, a biblical conversation on how to relate to the opposite sex and to deal with the topic of sexuality (if not, society will). Children will

take what they learnt regarding sexuality (from all the spheres they have learnt from) into their marriages but we have a Godly responsibility to guide them in this role.

  1. To model the principles of honour and obedience

The Bible says children should obey their parents but for the rest of our lives to honour our parents. This means as children obedience is important but for the rest of our lives, honour. The promise of honouring your mother and father is that it will go well with you and you will enjoy a long life. The greatest gift we can give our children as he grows he will learn how to honour because as he honours he walks and positions himself in the blessing of God.

  1. To develop a love for God and the church.

When our children are fully grown and have children themselves, that those children will serve God, love God and love His church. We don’t want the fire or intervention of God to disappear after a generation. Purposefully position your child to develop a relationship with God, and the church.

  1. To set them up to lead from an early age.

Leadership by implication involves an understanding of authority, calling, purpose and that God is with you as you carry others. To raise good mothers and fathers by implication is raising a leader. Moms and dads lead their families. From an early age we want to create an appetite for understanding of spheres of influence, leadership, delegated authority and a willingness to carry others. There is a weight in leadership, the first time people depend on you, you feel the weight. You want to start loading them up from an early age, so they can feel what it feels like to be dependent on and be the leader God has called you to be.

These signposts are ​#parentinggoals​ on the way to purposeful parenting and raising mothers and fathers.

The assignment is to go through these fourteen statements and consider which areas you need to work on. I trust by the completion of this course, you will explore the scripture and ask God to help you in these areas. We all need the help in taking purposeful steps on this incredible road and the incredible responsibility of raising Godly mothers and fathers.