Parent with Purpose

Week three of Starting Well in 2012!!  It’s all about THE KIDS!  Well, actually, it’s more about our role with our children and what being a godly parent looks like … and how we can manage such a noble task in this post-modern world.

First up … Parenting with Purpose.

parent with purpose

She’s eleven.  Very soon (like less than a month!) she’ll be twelve.  Twelve?  How in the world did this happen?  Two-thirds of the time she will live in our home has likely passed.   I look back over the past almost-twelve years and I see so many things I wish I’d done differently.

A youngster’s heart is filled with foolishness, but discipline will drive it away.  Proverbs 22:15 NLT

The ESV says, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child.”

I confess, I have often lost sight of my purpose as a parent!  I’ve forgotten what it is I’m supposed be doing.   I’ve gotten frustrated and even angry at my daughter for being a child, for doing foolish things.

This verse from Proverbs has been a guide for me as a parent … and a great source of conviction.  We are given this great privilege of guiding our children and this great responsibility of disciplining them.  It is through our discipline – our training and instruction – that we guide our children from the folly of childish things into the wisdom of maturity. 

In Ephesians, we are given counsel on parenting with purpose:

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.  Ephesians 6:4 ESV

We have two responsibilities:  Don’t provoke and Do instruct.

Don’t Provoke

Don’t frustrate your children unnecessarily.   There are thousands of ways to do this … but one I see most often is placing unreasonable expectations upon them.   Your children are just that – CHILDREN!   Give them the freedom to enjoy their childhood, to be kids!   If they aren’t top of the class or on the all stars or whatever … who cares?!?  Aren’t the bigger issues giving them the opportunities to try new things, to experience both success and failure, and to learn how to take some risks? {I’ve written on this topic before … Pay Attention, Momma!}

Do Instruct

We must be willing to discipline our children!   In Hebrews we read, “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (12:6 ESV).   It is a profound expression of our love when we appropriately and lovingly discipline our children.   To fail in this area is to give them a lesser love than they deserve.   This is more than spanking (or not).   Discipline is far more than that.  One definition I found is “to improve or attempt to improve the behaviour, orderliness, etc, of by training, conditions, or rules” (from  Disciplining our children is training them.   We are training them to be disciples … instructing them in the path of obedience, not just to us or other earthly authority but, even more significantly, to God.

Parenting with purpose is hard!  It doesn’t come easily or naturally. It requires slowing down and measuring our responses. It will take effort and be exhausting. And, we’ll likely learn far more about our own need for discipline than we ever dreamed. But this task is worth pursuing, worth sacrificing to attain.  Our children are worth it!

How do you parent with purpose?

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Read the Psalms this summer with Scripture Dig!


  1. I’m always needing to step back and reassess what I value in my children. I need frequent reminders to focus on the heart and character, not on just behavior or outward appearances. As I focus back on the attributes I want to praise and encourage, it helps me see just how much I get caught up in all the other extraneous goals and ambitions (and fears or pride) of parenting that, in the long run, do not actually reflect my children’s immense worth in the eyes of the Lord.
    Yolanda @ one family table recently posted…The GlareMy Profile

    • Oh Yolanda, you are not alone!! That is one of the biggest struggles for parents in this day and age, I believe. We focus so much on ourselves and our dreams and desires and goals … and we can lose sight of our children and their immeasurable worth to God. Very good point. Thank you.

  2. Such a great reminder. As the mother of a child with mild autistic spectrum differences, I have to stop myself from picking, picking , picking all day–at very “valid” things, but at what expense? His spirit. Similarly, with my more typically wired daughter, I have to force myself to slow down & respond thoughtfully, rather than pepper her with what amounts to defeating comments, when disciplining her. Definitely have to remember that I prefer gentle discipline–can’t imagine they are much different than I.


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