Summary: Kids can be immense joys but also our greatest pains. Sometimes at the very same moment! There are really no magic formulas for dealing with kids but there is inspiration and help from God.
Blessings and Brain-aches
August 24, 2008
This morning I am going to talk about our children. Raising children. But I speak not as one who has all the answers but as one who is looking to the One with all the answers. In other words, I hope that God will speak to you through these words. I hope that God will show you some insights and perhaps inspire new ideas and new approaches especially if the old ones are working. But I doubt you will come away knowing all the definitive answers on how to raise children or grandchildren from this one sermon. Maybe after two sermons but not just this one.
But really, Jesus preached and taught on more than one occasion and often repeated his lessons and expanded later and added to them later and Jesus was, well, Jesus. The whole point is to seek direction, guidance, and wisdom from the source of all that is good: God!
I feel like the guy who had three theories on raising kids but no kids before he got married. Years later, he had three kids and no theories.
Kids are say some of the greatest things. One child complained to his grandpa, “I don’t get it. Every time mom says that she can’t take anymore and is worn out and is exhausted, I get sent to my room for a nap.”
A couple just had their fourth child and they all were too young for school. So some friends from church sent them one of those “pack and play” play pens. The next week their friends received a thank you note that said, “Just what we needed! I sit in it every afternoon and ready and the kids can’t get to me!”
I call this sermon, “Blessings and Brain-Aches” because kids can be immense joys but also our greatest pains. Sometimes at the very same moment! And I say brain-ache because sometimes my entire head just hurts and my brain seems to ache because I’m trying to figure out why girls did what they did.
So why are kids so frustrating? There are many answers that we could give that might not be too helpful but here two that we can talk about.
Why are kids so frustrating?
1. Because we don’t know what to do
We just don’t always have the answers. Sometimes we feel like don’t even have a clue. And sometimes a strategy that has worked in the past, stops working. And something that works with one child, doesn’t work for another.
Here is a really bizarre paradox. Sometimes the kids that need consistency and structure the most are the ones that buck the hardest.
Not only that… but there are no magic bullets here. There are no one-size-fits-all parenting strategies that works as is in every situation for every child. Just like there are no magic bullets for spirituality. And that can be frustrating. Incredibly frustrating especially when every where we turn is some product or some spokesperson that claims to have the answer that you’ve been looking for.
But in reality there are no easy answers and no secrets to being the perfect parent. Yes, there are great principles that transcend context but they have to applied uniquely to each unique child and each unique situation so that the specific strategies often look different every time.
It’s frustrating because we often don’t know what to do. It’s almost like the rule are constantly changing. Anybody remember the comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes? It was about a kid and how in his imagination his stuffed tiger, Hobbes, comes to life and they have great fun together. One of their games is a game that they call Calvinball. There are no set rules except that on each turn each person gets to make a new rule. Contantly chaning. Constantly in motion. Constantly in flux. Parenting like that is very frustrating because you just don’t know what to do.
2. Each kid is unique
This can be frustrating but this is also something is of great potential. No two children are the same. Some may be similar but all have unique qualities. And it is such a joy when they really start to become their own person in ways that are positive and God-honoring.
And here we all often make great mistakes. Sometimes we treat them as if they are just like us. And they aren’t. Sometimes people even try to get their children to love what they love and even accomplish what they were not able to do. And then we also can treat them in the same way that we have always treated them even though they have grown (as well as grown up) and become their own person.
Ok, let’s look at Proverbs 22:6,