Raising an Obedient Child is not my Parenting Goal

My pastor preached a wonderful message this week entitled Christ our Cornerstone (part of a 4 part series entitled “Who We Are“). It got me thinking about parenting. (He actually does mention parenting in the sermon, although it is not the topic of the whole message.) And it brings me to the title of this post. I have said this before but I don’t think I’ve said it here on the blog but my goal as a parent is not based on performance, on what my child looks like on the outside. What drives me in the decisions I make and the way I am raising my daughter does not revolve around getting results and a pat on the back and people commenting on what a well-behaved child I have. Raising an obedient child is not my parenting goal!

via dwellingintheword.wordpress.com

In the message referenced above, my pastor speaks about the need for our life to have Christ as our cornerstone, nothing else. Even good things, scriptural things cannot be our main objective or our focus. If we have anything else as our cornerstone, we veer completely off course. At first, it is just gradual but inevitably as time goes on we stray farther and farther away from where we should be as a Christian. I don’t want to be characterized by and overwhelmed by just one “good” thing but by the love of Christ and the Holy Spirit’s work in my life. I want the same for my child!

I appreciated what McKay Caston had to say on the subject:

However, if my primary parenting goal is to raise obedient, well-behaved children, then in the end, I will not be serving them well.  This is because, as a parent who claims to follow Jesus, my goal in the child rearing process is not merely to see my children reformed morally, but to see them transformed spiritually– and there is a huge gulf between those two goals.  The former focuses on actions. The latter focuses on motives. The former wants to create a rule-keeper. The later desires to shape a Jesus-lover. The former demands immediate results.  The later recognizes that reaching the heart of a child is a process.

My goal as a parent is simple really. I want Christ to show through in everything. I want Christ to be the reason for everything. I want my daughter’s life to be transformed by the power of the Gospel! Do I want her to obey? Sure I do. But obedience is not IT, Christ is!

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