The Main Goal Every Parent Should Have For Their Kids

Upfront disclaimer: By no means am I claiming to be an expert parent. I’m only about four and a half years into this parenting thing, and one thing I can say is that it is simultaneously the hardest thing I have ever done and the most rewarding thing I have ever done…and I still have a long ways to go! But, even though I’m no expert, one thing I can say with certainty is that the Bible helps parents to know what their goals and priorities should be.

One prominent example would be found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9…

[4] Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. [5] You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. [6] And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. [7] You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. [8] You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. [9] You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Based on a text like this (and many others), it would not be a stretch to say that the main goal of parenting is to raise children who love God. Our primary responsibility is to pass on saving faith to our kids. To be fair, we can’t make our children follow Christ, but our job is to establish that as our aim in parenting our kids. For this reason, how we parent – our priorities, schedules, friends, activities, and every decision we make – should be shaped with the reality that we are trying to raise disciples of Jesus.

I think that often, even the best-intentioned Christian parent can lose sight of this goal. We all want our kids to be happy and have the fullest life they can experience. Naturally, we would want to include into this thinking success not only in faith but other areas as well, such as academics, friendships, health, sports, the arts, and so on. But what can happen is that, over time, our desire for our children to be well-rounded individuals can overtake the primary task of parenting – that of ensuring they are in the Kingdom of God.

Let me encourage you today to assess your family’s life and determine if following Jesus is the number one priority of your home. I mean really number one. If your child decided to give up their initial dream of becoming a doctor to instead become a missionary in a foreign land, would you discourage them from doing so? The thought that your child might be giving up financial success, material comforts, living close to home, and perhaps even putting their life at risk might be enough to cause any parent a moment of pause. Yet we must remember that our children ultimately belong to God, not us. God is the commander of their lives. He calls the shots. We should encourage our children to seek His will and not ours, or even their own.

Allow me a little flexibility with the Bible (see Mark 8:34-36) for a moment to provoke your thinking. Consider deeply this question:

…If your child would come after me, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. [35] For whoever would save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit your child to gain the whole world and forfeit their soul?

Allow this perspective to shape the way you parent, and I guarantee you will have nothing to regret.

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