Monday, November 14, 2022

Faithful in Parenting

By Brian Mitchell


    Allow me to begin with a short poem by Michael Hodgin. “Child-raising theories did abound, before my children were around. Then one day I had my own, now all those theories I disown. Energy was once my friend, now I am at my strength’s end. Fortune gone, the fridge is clean, my child has now become a teen!” So many of us have “been there, done that.”

    I don’t have to tell you that raising children is a challenge. Certainly, it is difficult to raise kids in today’s world, but it has been difficult to raise them since the very beginning...just ask Adam and try raising Cain! One mother was considering her plight in life. She said to herself, “I guess if it was going to be easy, it would not have started with something called ‘labor’.”

    I saw a cartoon that shows a young mother asking the reference librarian where to find a book. The librarian is pointing as she answers, “If you are looking for the book on how to have perfect children, it is in the fiction section.” In this week’s lesson we are going to talk about being faithful in parenting. None of us are perfect parents, and we will never be perfect, but we can make it our goal to be faithful. Some of us are really struggling with this task of parenting, while others are having a much easier time of it.

    How difficult or easy a time we have in parenting is dependent upon a myriad of things; some we have control over and some we do not. Someone has said that raising children is like cooking. If you want something to come out well, you have to follow the recipe and you must not skimp on the ingredients. I wish it were that simple and straightforward. We all appreciate the fact that if you have a great cake recipe, and are careful to use the same ingredients and follow the same directions, the cake will come out equally well every time.

    That is not the case with raising children. Every child is unique, having their own temperaments and we parents are never exactly the same parents – from day to day and year to year. Therefore, we are always amazed at how kids can grow up in the same home, with the same parents, and yet they turn out so differently and uniquely. If you would have told anyone including—myself, my parents, my siblings, my close and not so close friends—when I was a kid, that I would one day be a preacher of the gospel. Everyone mentioned would have told you that you were crazy.

    Nevertheless, even though parenting is not exactly like cooking, there are some similarities. We do need a good and tested recipe to follow. We do need to try to be consistent as we follow the directions. And where do the best directions for raising kids come from, from God himself.

- Brian Mitchell serves as a minister with the Jackson Church of Christ in Jackson, MO. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at

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