Being a parent is probably one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. About the time you realize what you should have done during the last phase of your children’s lives, they have moved on to the next phase.
Being a parent is very humbling. I still have much to learn about parenting my children. (My children are now 24 and 20, and I still continue to learn how to be a parent to two adult children.) When our children were young, I read, listened to audio/video presentations on parenting, and watched other parents to learn how to be a good parent. Again, I learned so much from just watching other parents. Periodically, I would ask these parents questions about child rearing.
I have observed a few things in parents today which encourage me greatly. Just the other evening, Charlotte and I were talking about a young family at our church. We have been in their home and around their children on numerous occasions. Watching them with their children is an encouraging experience. On the other hand, I have also observed a few things which cause me concern (even great concern).
What makes me nervous?
1. A mom and dad who seem to think they have got this parenting thing down. Parenting does have a way of humbling many of us (It sure humbled me!). Yet, there are some people who have been at this thing for two, three, or four years who almost seem to think they are a cut above other young parents. Sometimes they will have read one book on parenting and now see that book as the definitive work on parenting. No reason to read anything else or listen to anyone else. After all, they have read the book (not referring to the Bible). Contrast this spirit to the person who is humble and is always wanting to learn.
2. A mom and dad who have basically placed their child (or children) in charge. This family has become child centered (much to the detriment of the child). Whatever this child wants, this child gets. This happens regardless of how many other people are inconvenienced by the desire of these parents to please this child (or children) — at all costs.
When you observe parents with their children — in Wal-Mart, in your church, in your neighborhood, etc., what causes you concern?