Parenting is Never an Interruption

Some excellent thoughts here from Paul Tripp on parenting.

Parenting is all about living by the principle of prepared spontaneity. You don’t really know what’s going to happen next. You don’t really know when you’ll have to enforce a command, intervene in an argument, confront a wrong, hold out for a better way, remind someone of a truth, call for forgiveness, lead someone to confession, point to Jesus, restore peace, hold someone accountable, explain a wisdom principle, give a hug of love, laugh in the face of adversity, help someone complete a task, mediate an argument, stop with someone and pray, assist someone to see his heart, or talk once again about what it means to live together in a community of love…

Let me give you an example. We had planned a day at a local theme park with our children. I was anticipating a day of familial amusement park bliss. I was hoping that on this day my children would be self-parenting, and if God could throw in a fully sanctified wife, that would be cool! Well, we’re getting out of the van at the park and one of my children said, “Dad, may we have something to drink before we go into the park?” It didn’t seem like a dangerous request. I opened the cooler, which was full of soft drinks, and all of my children sighted in on the one can of soda that they all knew was the best. Immediately global nuclear war broke out. They were pushing and shoving, grabbing and pulling, throwing ice at one another, saying unkind things and hitting one another’s hands out of the way. I couldn’t believe it. We weren’t even in the park yet, and my day was already ruined!

So I jumped in and said, “Do you want to fight? We don’t have to pay all this money for you to fight. I’ll take you home, put a cooler in the backyard with one can of soda in it, and you can fight forever!” Soon my children aren’t fighting anymore because they’re watching the crowd gather as I lose it in the parking lot of the theme park.

Let’s analyze what’s going on in this moment and what’s happening inside of me. What’s going on is that a God of grace is taking a mundane moment of daily family life and using it to do something wonderful for my children and for me. He is making the condition of their hearts visible in order to produce concern in me that would hopefully result in awareness and a desire to change in them. But I’m not at all encouraged in this moment with what God is doing. You see, I’m not angry in the parking lot because my children are sinners. No, I’m angry that God has exposed their sin, and because he has, I have to forsake my agenda for the day and parent them! It all seems like a huge imposition, a hassle that I just didn’t want to deal with…

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March 16 2011 05:00 am | Blog

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