Today produced yet another enlightening discussion with friends and fellow forerunners in the Christian-parenting journey. Personal struggles in passing along the live-giving ideas and principles wrapped up in a life based on truth as defined by the One who claimed to be the Way, the Truth and the Life.
The communication and cultivation of these life-giving and life-altering truths to the next generation, in a world preoccupied with its own passing beauty, is appropriately marked by struggle – a wrestling if you will. After all, where there is no wrestling – no struggle – inherent weakness and frailty remain unrevealed. A result no loving parent would intentionally wish to cultivate yet statistics bear an alarming frailty among young people emerging from “Christian” homes.
Wise parents therefore welcome the wrestling and do not settle for the short-sighted temptation to exasperate our young adults by means of forcing mere external obedience while refusing to engage their young minds and hearts through relevant encounters of principles and ideas from scripture. While we, as parents, are often already resolved on such ideas and principles, we often forget how we arrived at such resolutions. Many resolutions have been made through our own struggles with truth and “truth” (and others through amiable acquiesce or clinging to a certain form or tradition, but that is a subject best left for another blog post). The next generation must be afforded the same opportunity, the same right to test His ways and truths against the world’s “ways” and “truths”. The Way, the Truth and the Life is more than up to the task, even if we parents are not! Remember, He dealt with us, didn’t He?
Is such wrestling permitted and promoted within the arena of your home, my home? The days of parenting by authority alone were appropriate when our children were young and their capacity to understand and reason required consistent external governance, correction and intervention. However, in healthy, and I would argue Biblical, parenting of the human soul, this external governance must give way to internal governance upon which the work of His spirit must be fully relied upon for all application and wisdom on the parents part and the budding youth’s heart.
Consequently, if we parents continue to rely more upon our own strength by exerting our unilateral authority to its fullest extent in all matters on behalf of these young adults, this internal governance in our youth remains neglected, and as a result, it is profoundly retarded. Producing what kind of adult? At best, an adult that is conditioned to be controlled and cared for by other humans with an identity grounded in human elements and efforts. In the end, both parent and youth resent this regretful result.
The human soul innately knows it was designed for a greater governance, a governance that does not produce slavery to a human element, but a governance that paradoxically produces freedom from human frailties of self and others. Producing a freedom to love and serve from the heart. With a transcendent identity characterized by an attractive and unassuming authority that stems from the internal governance of His spirit. This is the appropriate and fruitful governance the human soul was designed to find its fullest satisfaction.
My spirit is vexed in this sober undertaking. What parent is able to labor in a worthy manner under such weighty matters? Hope abounds because of His provision. For whom He has granted precious and magnificent promises through which, when apprehended and appropriated by His grace, we wrestle with Him who bestows strength, blessing, understanding, and wisdom.
May we wrestle with Him, so that we may have personal strength to pass to our youth in their time of wrestling.