I’ve got good kids. They generally do what I ask them to do without fussing. They each cook one meal a week. They take care of their own laundry. They don’t argue with each other too often.
I used to think that having good kids was the goal of child rearing. When they left the house at age 18, if they well-mannered, didn’t do drugs, didn’t drink, were virgins, and were off to college or a decent job, then PWM and I had done a good job. Right?
I don’t think so. Don’t get me wrong – I think raising good kids is a great thing. I don’t regret that we could take our kids to restaurants and not have leave a trail of destruction behind us. I love that my kids know how to be helpful and useful. But, that’s all secondary stuff. Sure, it will make them useful in society. But it’s not the main thing.
My primary job as a parent is to teach my children about Jesus. Hopefully, through all the day to day teaching of reading, writing, math, manners, etc., PWM and I have also managed to teach our kids that Jesus loves them and that grace is available to them. I want them to know that actions have consequences in the real world, but that God gives us grace even when we screw up in big, bad ways.
This is harder to balance than I realized. When one of the kids makes a mistake, there must be consequences. That’s life here on this fallen planet Earth. Yet God is different. He gives us second, third, up to a zillionth chances. No matter how much I disappoint God, He’s always there. I want my children to go out into the big world understanding the reality of earthly life but also knowing, even if just a tiny bit, the immensity of God’s grace.
We’ll see how it goes. I’ve got a few more years left with them.