Summary: Sermon Series by Dr. Tim Pollock
Parenting is an extreme responsibility, but thank God there are extreme blessings as well! As Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family once said, “Parenting is not for cowards.” We have answers for the modern family though – the blessed Word of God! If you typed “parenting” into your Google search engine, you would receive millions of concepts from thousands of different sources. While they mean well, our desire as God-fearing people, is to raise sons and daughters that are independent, competent and truly moral not just average. Raising young people who are distinctly Christian is no accident. It takes constant prayer and adherence to the Word.
Raising a family is a balancing act. We know that in order for a young person or a child to feel safe, secure and loved there has to be steadfast leadership. On the flip side of the coin however, children also need to learn self-government. How do parents balance firm control and still promote self-government at the same time? How do they get the two to meet together?
Let me share a powerful truth from Proverbs 11:29, “He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind, and the fools shall be servant to the wise of heart.” As we will see in this chapter, parental balance is achievable.
I can remember seeing my wife sitting at the piano, with a “metronome” on the top of it. A metronome is a device that helps musicians keep time. It has weights on the end of a lever that clicks back and forth. It would go from one side to the other. It seems to me that parenting is often like that. Over the years, I’ve found myself having good firmness but then felt like I was getting a little controlling, so I let up some but then I ended up getting lax! It is really a balancing act to be an effective parent. Consider the insights Pastor Dana Chau said his strict, but loving mom taught him:
My mother taught me RELIGION: When I spilled grape juice on the carpet, she instructed, “You better pray the stain will come out of the carpet”…LOGIC: From her decisive words, “Because I said so, that’s why.”…FORESIGHT: “Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”…IRONY: “Keep laughing, and I’ll give you something to cry about.”…STAMINA: “You’ll sit there ’til all that spinach is finished.”…WEATHER: “It looks as if a tornado swept through your room.”…THE CIRCLE OF LIFE: “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.”… BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION: “Stop acting like your father!” …ENVY: “There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t have a wonderful Mom like you do!”
Let’s Notice Two Extremes in Parenting:
1. Over Attentiveness
“He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind, and the fools shall be servant to the wise of heart” (Proverbs 11:29).
The word trouble in this verse means to “stir something.” Solomon saw some parents who actually stirred up problems for themselves. They troubled their own family. “Disturbed” is another definition for the Hebrew word trouble. Disturbed parents, disturb others. When you are overwrought about the education of your child, when you are disturbed about the health of our child, when you are disturbed about their sports life, when you are disturbed about your finances, when you are disturbed about their music lessons – you disturb your child! A disturbed parent makes a disturbed child. There is a way to call your family to excellence, but there is also a way of demanding too much without any regard to the true needs of the son or daughter.
On the other hand, verse 29 warns against being a fool, “A fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.” Solomon is now balancing two extremes in parenting. The neurotic parent versus the careless (foolish) parent is displayed. The operative word is just that, “foolish” or “intentionally ignorant.” It is an unwise parent who knows that they should be more dutiful in their business and be more up to date on relationships, but doesn’t do so.
This parenting style is slavery, “A fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.” (vs. 29) Too many of us have become slaves to mediocrity (or worse) when we do not inspire our children towards moral excellence. There is a careful balance of having firm leadership, but at the same time drawing forth self-government from the child through seeking God’s best. It is true that parents must accept the reality of humanity and the needs of the individual, BUT they must not devolve into the bondage of mediocrity.
Understanding Parenting Styles Sheds Insight On Balance:
Style #1 - Power Parenting
Power parenting, or as some might call it, Authoritarian Parenting, is using your physical stature, mental superiority or position to enforce wishes. We have all seen a big six-foot man in a store physically threatening a three-year-old! His eyes are flaring, his jaw is clenched, and he’s ready for a fight. Police would call this a threatening stance. That’s a power parent. Moms might use their emotional capabilities. They have discovered unwittingly, or not, that they have the ability to totally overwhelm others by the use of emotions. Whether it is by physical stature or emotional manipulation, it is “strong arm” parenting.