Summary: Successful parenting is purpose driven. This lesson answers the "Why?" and the "How?" of parenting.

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Psalm 127:3; Malachi 2:15; Selected Others

“Why does God entrust us with children?” Or stated differently, “What is the goal or purpose of parenting?” In preparation for this series on Christian parenting, I have read or skimmed dozens of books, articles, web sites and essays on Christian parenting. Many of them are good. But I have made an interesting discovery: very few spend any time or space on the biblical purpose of having children or God’s goals for parenting. Most teach ways to succeed but never define success. Successful parenting is more than survival.


When we lose sight of our purpose or where we are supposed to going in the mission of parenting we begin to substitute any number of approaches to parenting:

(Note: see Bruce Wilkinson, Spritual Breakthroughs for more development of these. I have adapted some of his to this message)

1. Ostrich Approach --- Bruce Wilkinson calls this the close-your-eyes-and-hope-for-the-best-parent.

Just take care of basic needs, shuttle them around, feed them keep clothes on their backs and look the other way… it will all work out in the end.

2. Delegator Approach--- Believing that good leadership always means delegation, this parent uses others to raise his or her children: childcare, day care, schools, camps, counselors, scouts, coaches, church and anyone else out there they can delegate parental responsibility to raise their children.

3. Neiman Marcus Approach --- This parent believes that if he or she just provides the child with the best of everything then all the child’s needs will be met. Nothing but the best for my child – clothes, toys, schools, a car ….

4. Warden Approach --- This parent runs a tight ship like the Von Trapp father in Sound of music. These drill instructor parents focus on keeping all external behavior in line with a detailed set of rules. Their kids would describe them as rigid, critical, meddling and angry.

5. Busy Bee Approach --- Kids need to learn how to program mom and dad’s palm pilot just to get time with them. This parent’s focus is career advancement not kids. (And it is often justified because of the kids).

6. Church Mouse Approach --- This parent believes that the more time the kid spends in church, Sunday school and youth group, the better off they will turn out. There is some truth to that but sometimes church is used like punishment. ILL: Me & counseling --- Why are you here? Parents are making me talk to you. So I am your punishment. Yup! Go home. Come back when you want to grow up and want to talk with me… You want to go or stay? Stayed…

7. Taxi Cab Approach --- Parenting is simply a transportation problem. They believe that lining up a full calendar of events and activities is what makes a successful family: (Sports, music, drama, dance, cooking, woodworking, karate, youth group. These worn out parents aren’t purpose driven, they are activity driven --- driving theirs kids anywhere and everywhere.

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