Saturday, June 03, 2006

Gifts or Idols? Part I

I asked in a previous post a series of questions. I am going to attempt to answer them to the best of my abilities and understanding, possibly just one or two per post.

Question #1 asked "Where is our focus when raising children?"

This is tough because it requires discernment. Of course, our focus is on the child. But as we focus on our children, we need to ask if we can properly focus on God. Focus implies prioritizing. Do we unconsciously make our children our first priority, our spouse our second priority, and God our third priority? I think an honest introspection in a quiet moment will reveal that this is often the case. It may not be the case 100% of the time, but I'm willing to state that there are at least times in life where it does happen.

Let us not forget that God will not take second place in our lives. He rightly and justly demands first place, no matter what we may think of the needs of our children. When we place the children first, we are saying we know better than God...and that is pride speaking. So as we rise up each day, is it given over to the Lord? Do we trust Him with its activities and outcome? This isn't just a time of quiet worship in the morning...it is a moment-by-moment decision. For example... You didn't get all the items the experts from the curriculum development company said you should do today because your child needed some extra attention in another area or because there was a ministry opportunity for your family. Do you get overwhelmed and frustrated...burned out? Do you trust God with the outcome? Or do you fear the experts' dreaded scope and sequence more? Where is your focus?

OK... so I'll focus on God first. I'll trust Him with every moment of my day. Then I'll focus on my child. Uh...not so fast. There is another priority: your spouse.

We all have heard the admonition that the best gift we can give our children is to love their other parent. We all nod our heads in agreement...and then go on to put that love for the other parent in a position far below its proper priority. Where in the priority order would God have you put your spouse/marriage? I believe He would have it in second place...right behind Himself. He created the institution of marriage to reflect the relationship between Jesus and His Church. As such, He highly values marriage...over and above the raising of children. In Genesis, marriage came before children!

But it's funny how putting God first, putting your spouse and marriage second naturally results in a good and proper environment for the raising of children! In fact, when you prioritize this way, little Johnny and little Jenny discover their proper place in the family...they aren't in charge and the world doesn't revolve around them!

So, where's your focus in raising your child? Let's all get on our knees, repent as needed, and then put our focus on our Father in heaven, followed by our spouse and our marriage...and then watch our children blossom in the fertile garden of the home that is then created.

1 comment:

Margaret said...

Too true. I really liked that part about the "experts" scope and sequence...