One of the best lessons my parents taught me was to honor them because God commanded it. My dad would consistently say, “Honor us even if you don’t want to because God blesses that.”
This seemed very self-serving at the time. I would think, “Well, isn’t that convenient for you? You’re lucky the Bible tells me to honor you all the time.” But they repeated it consistently and I’m glad they did. My life would be much worse if I didn’t honor my parents.
As I thought about this, I realized my parents didn’t want to look like good parents. They wanted to be good parents. This makes all the difference in the world.
Too many parents feel pressured to look like good parents. After Philip was born, my wife and I quickly learned how strong peer pressure can be at this stage. Everyone has an opinion on how you should be raising your kid. The mere absence of socks on his feet was enough to send some Instagram followers into conniptions. It seemed easier to just give in to what people said and parent by consensus.
But that’s not how fatherhood and motherhood work. Fathers and mothers are leaders of the home. I was blessed to have parents who led our home God’s way despite what others said.
There are three audiences that parents can feel pressured by:
The World Around Us
Obviously parents should get wisdom from people around us. But at the end of the day, God gave that child to you. So He is going to empower you to make the right decisions for your family. You can’t parent by consensus.
When we were kids, my parents felt led by God to put us in a small Christian school. Many relatives pressured them to move us to a more “high profile” school. They said our future would be limited because of this choice. But twenty-five years later, they were vindicated as we got older. The answer is not Christian schools or home schools. The answer is parents listening to God and not being pressured to perform for others.
I was talking to a father and mother who are being pressured that the standards of the Bible on sexual purity aren’t realistic. They want to stand for what’s right, but their friends say they’re being too strict and old-fashioned. I encouraged them that God would hold them accountable for their own children and they were doing the right thing.
As we were speaking, I thanked God for parents who didn’t hesitate to teach the full counsel of God’s Word. My marriage and family are so much better for it. It was a good reminder even as Carla and I do our best to parent Philip.
Parents, we don’t have to explain our parenting to the world around us. But we will answer to God. He is the one to please.
Some parents are pressured by their kids. They want their kids to approve of their parenting now. They want their kids to like every decision they make. This makes them reluctant to bring discipline and correction. They abdicate the leadership of the home to whatever the child feels like doing at the time. This is like driving by looking at the rearview mirror.
My parents didn’t give us everything we wanted. We were forced to play the piano, forced to get up at 6 AM during summer break to take swimming lessons, and forced to eat vegetables. I hated it back then. But today I’m thankful. It reminds me to invest the right disciplines in Philip today that he will thank us for in the future.
Parents, let’s not be dictated to by our children’s whims today. Let’s parent in a way that they will thank us when they are older.
One of the most insistent voices that pressures parents is the present – whatever is current, whatever is trendy, whatever is going viral. Many sources in media insist that we need the latest parenting breakthrough from this book, that celebrity, or this YouTuber. We see advertisements that promise this new toy will make your child a genius so he can invent the next Facebook. This pressure can cause us to buy those products, to subscribe to the latest icon, or to conform our parenting style to the trend.
Instead of being slaves to the contradictory whims of the present. Let’s parent according to the timeless word of God and the wisdom from more experienced, godly parents.
My parents refused to be dictated to by trends. We didn’t always watch the latest movies, own the latest gaming platform, or go to every party. Twenty years later, it doesn’t feel like we missed that much.
Many times my wife and I have conversations about how we’re parenting Philip that are triggered by an article or video someone shared with us. But we find peace when we juxtapose the topical with the timeless words in the Bible, keeping the good and discarding the evil. We are always grateful for older, wiser parents who are generous with that they’ve learned through the years.
Parents, we don’t need to submit to the tyranny of the present, the trending, and the instant. It’s good to keep an eye on them, but we must value the timeless Word of God more. The present will be replaced soon, but the timeless will last to the future.
Parents are leaders in the home. It isn’t our goal to look like good parents. We must be good parents. We do this by leading our families. We can lead well when we tune out the wrong sources of advice and tune in to the right ones.
- Let’s not be pressured by the world around us. Let’s be accountable to God.
- Let’s not be driven by what our kids want today. Let’s parent so they will thank us in the future.
- Let’s not be tyrannized by the present. Let’s build on the timeless Word of God.