Raising children is fraught with challenges, and as a result, they can often seem more of a burden than a blessing. I often find myself wondering what my life could have been if I hadn’t had children – how much more I could have accomplished in my career, how many more countries I could have travelled to, and how much more time I could have had for myself.
So I need to remind myself of God’s truth that children are a blessing from God. They are a huge responsibility that God has entrusted me with and my greatest privilege in life is to be chosen by God to be their mother and to be able to bring them up in the ways of the Lord (3 John 1:4).
So today, on Children’s Day, I reflect on three points that we as Christian parents should remember as we raise our children:
1. Teach my child about God
The bible commands us to teach God’s word to our children (Deut 6:6-7). This parental task is not optional; it is not a matter of preference or convenience. But as working parents, it is challenging to find the time. Often, devotions with the kids at my home consists simply of reading a few words from a devotional and mumbling a quick prayer so we can get on with our long to-do list after the kids go to bed. But we need to keep reminding ourselves that it is our God-given responsibility to teach our children God’s word – a sacred duty for which we will have to give an account before God.
The bible also tells us that our responsibility of teaching our children God’s word is not limited merely to just speaking the Word, but also living it out in our daily lives and modelling for our children what it means to live as a child of God. I find this even more challenging than finding time to do devotions with my children. The Bible says ‘be patient’ but it is hard to be patient when there is so much to do with so little time. The bible says ‘don’t be quick to anger’ but when things don’t go your way, it’s hard to remain calm and display kindness. The Bible says ‘forgive and love your enemies’, but when people disappoint and hurt you, it’s hard to forgive and love them. I am guilty of all of the above, but I have to constantly remind myself that Bible-talk will mean very little to my children if I don’t also show I take God’s word seriously in my daily walk.
2. Serve God
When the twins were one month old, we started bringing them to church, but after a few months we found it very challenging. We didn’t have a car then and carting so many bags and strollers proved to be more than a handful. And then when we were in church, we often found ourselves outside the sanctuary during service, feeding them, pacifying them and putting them to sleep. So did it make any sense to attend church? I was encouraged by Aunty Swee Sin who told me that my service to God was bringing my children to church. It didn’t matter if I couldn’t follow the service; just the act of bringing them to church was my way of keeping the promise I made to God at their baptism – to bring them up in the ways of the Lord.
A few years later, after I had gotten the hang of bringing the children to church on a regular basis, Aunty Swee Sin approached me again and encouraged me to start serving in a ministry again. She shared with me her experiences as a young mother and encouraged me to do the same. While I am grateful for her encouragement and I am glad that I am serving, I must admit that it is not easy. On many occasions, the thought of relinquishing all my responsibilities in church has crossed my mind. Some days, I don’t feel worthy to be serving. I can’t even get this parenting job right. I am not a role model to my kids, so how can I expect to be a leader in church? On other days it just gets too overwhelming. There is so much going on at home and at work and I am unable to do my duties in church well and I feel like giving up. But I remind myself that bringing my children to church and serving in church, no matter how difficult or challenging it may be, shows my children that this God whom we talk about and teach them about is someone we take seriously. He is not a God we follow at our convenience; rather, we serve him with commitment.
3. Pray for my children
Our prayers are the best gift we can give our children. The best gift my parents gave to me and continue to give to me (and their grandchildren) is the gift of prayer. If there is one thing I have learnt in my journey as a parent, it is that I can plan all I want, but the reality is, I have absolutely no control over the lives of my children – what they will do or how they turn out. Only God is in control. And so the best thing I can do is to let go of my control and entrust them to God. The more I resist His plans for them, the harder this parenting journey is going to be.
So, this Children’s Day, let’s worry less about our children, their accomplishments and how we are performing as parents. Instead, let’s serve God in our role by spending more time praying for them and teaching them about Him.
And if you don’t have young children and you think today’s editorial doesn’t apply to you, well, Hermon has quite a few and the bible says we are one spiritual family. This means the children in Hermon are your children too. So, regularly pray for them, find opportunities to teach them about God and show them through your life and service what God means to you. - Ramona Perera