Currently, I work for Enlightium Academy as a psychology and philosophy teacher. One of my main duties over the past two years was to write courses. In one of the Psychology courses that I created, I wrote the introductory section to an assignment about infancy and childhood. When I reread it today, it was a nice reminder for myself (and I hope others) that we have a HUGE purpose and responsibility as parents.
Of course, this responsibility is nothing to dread; we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us who is willing to supply all of the grace we need to fulfill our God-given task. So with his help, what is our ultimate purpose as parents? Here is what I wrote in the curriculum:
In Proverbs 22:6, Solomon wrote, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (NKJV). Training happens in the home. The primary job of raising children to love God and love others does not belong to the church, a youth group, or an educational institution. Granted, all of these can play a vital role, but it is the parent’s job to train their children in the ways of God. In this verse, Solomon is saying that if parents train a child rightly, then they will walk in that same way when they are old. Part of this training involves communicating to the child that God loves them and has a significant plan for their life. In order for this message of love and purpose to find its way deep into the child’s heart, the parent must model this love. In other words, a parent can’t simply say “God loves you.” God’s love must be displayed by the parent in a multitude of ways. If love is expressed in a healthy way (physically, emotionally, in words, etc.), a healthy attachment will develop between the parent and child. This in turn will make it easier for the child to develop a health relationship with God through Christ. As you can see, the role of a parent is pivotal in a child’s mental, emotional, social, and spiritual development.
This grand task ought to drive us to our knees, sober us up a bit, and move us to cry out for God’s help and power to accomplish such a feat. A child’s early years determines SO MUCH of the foundation from which they will live later in life as an adult. So do not just raise your kids in church. Do not just model good behavior. As a parent, you are a divine messenger called to deliver the most beautiful, salvific, piercing message there ever was: God is for you, not against you (Romans 8:31). Oh, and this is usually done from one small, mundane moment to the next.