Anyone else find parenting these days overwhelming? Sifting through the countless parenting philosophies on how to pass down values and faith can feel downright disorienting.
I often try to remind myself in these moments of Mark chapter 12. Jesus is being confronted by a teacher of the law, and is asked, “of all the laws, what is the most important?”. Remembering that at that time the Ancient Jewish people had over 600 laws they were required to follow.
I love how Jesus answers this: “30 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (note he doesn’t say instead of yourself implied is a command to care for self).
What if we were to take Jesus at his word. Not that the 100’s of rules and parenting philosophies aren’t important . But what would it look like for us to pause , and allow Jesus’ priorities to become ours. To Honestly, Love God, Love our neighbour, which in this case is our children, and to love ourselves. What if that alone was our “faith sharing strategy”?
What would happen if we allowed ourselves to show up authentically before God (which is everywhere), in all of our beautiful and messy parts. What would it look like to love God with all our heart, a heart that may or may not be triggered by our child’s strong emotions, a Soul that may be feeling weary and discouraged, a Mind; thats constantly racing with the never ending to do list, and a strength that doesn’t always feel very strong. To show up in all of this messy beauty is authentic and loving to God. For us to love our children for who they are, in their messy beauty, their; eccentricities, creative parts, anxieties, neurodivergent attributes, all of it. That is a sharing of that Love.
Our children knowing they are unconditionally loved by a primary caregiver, is one of the biggest determining factors to trusting that they are loved unconditionally by God. So can I encourage you to be gracious with yourself, Honour God in the way you show up authentically, and when the results of parenting don’t look the way you want them can we go back to this simple question, the one thing Jesus ask of us, “What does love require of me?”.