2 Reasons Why Perfect Parenting Won't Work
Written by Jacob Riggs on May 31, 2012
I was blessed to grow up as a pastor's kid. That's right, I was blessed to have the parents I have. Some seem to resent the fact they grew up as a PK, but I do not. Not that I'm better than other PKs; just that although there were times I wish we could have gone to Disney World instead of our denomination's convention, I wouldn't trade my childhood for the world. Dad and Mom were awesome parents--not because they were perfect, but because they were repentant.
Here are two reasons perfect parenting won't work:
1. Because being perfect parents is unrealistic. Why? Because people are sinners (Romans 3:23; Ephesians 2:1a). My Dad and Mom are sinners. And sometimes that impacted how they parented my siblings and me. Every once in a while, Mom and Dad would get mad and take their frustration out on us in some way--maybe by spanking us a little harder than was necessary or giving too strict a punishment for a certain wrong. It happens. And it's not just my parents either. I'm sure there were times when Noah made Japheth shovel more camel poop than he deserved when he slept too late and didn't do his chores in the Ark. Being a parent doesn't automatically make you not be a sinner.
Because of sin, parents will never be perfect and neither will their parenting. In fact, I bet the rules of parenting sometimes magnify the inadequecies of parents rather than serve as a good plan to follow. That's the way it happens with the law of God. Paul said it was by the law of God that knowledge of sin comes (Romans 3:20).
I suspect the fear is that if parents don't raise their kids perfectly, then their kids won't turn out well, or become Christians themselves. This leads to the second reason perfect parenting won't work:
2. Because kids are sinners too. Even the kids who were raised in Pastor's homes (maybe even especially those kids). Good parenting doesn't take Adam's seed from your kid. Because of this, kids don't need perfect examples to follow. They need a perfect Savior to take their place, and they need to know and see how the perfect Savior saves.
Not Perfect, But Repentant
Parents will never be perfect, and neither were mine. But, there is a way to parent that gives kids the best chance of knowing God and serving Him. That's what I'm calling a parenthood of repentance.
Although Dad did get too frustrated from time to time and Mom might say something she shouldn't have, they would always apologize--to God I'm sure, and most definitely to us. And they not only apologized, they expressed a desire to do it better in the future--they wanted to change the way they parented. This is a parenthood of repentance.
As a result, Dad and Mom didn't teach us how to be perfect people. They taught us how to be repenting people. Perfect people is a misnomer that only leads to guilt or pride. Repenting people are those who know their need for grace, and have been changed by it. Repenting parents give God glory for saving them and live new lives in response. Repenting parents teach their children not that they're supposed to be perfect, but that they're sinners and there is a Savior who can change them too.
Perfect parents don't raise perfect kids, because neither exist. But repenting parents, by God's grace, can raise repenting kids. In this way, Christ is exalted and His kingdom expands in a very D6 kind of way.
Posted in: Parents