Have you ever noticed how easy it is to be lazy sometimes?
Or preoccupied with “important” things?
Or forgetful of our values and what really matters?
I was thinking about parenting recently, and it struck me that it’s easy to talk about how vitally important Christian parenting is in a broad, general sense, but then get lazy in our day-to-day practice.
In other words, it’s easy to say how important good parenting is, then act as if we don’t believe it.
My guess is that just about any sincere Christian parent will agree that being a good Dad or Mom is important to them. They’ll agree that a lack of good parenting hurts kids and is bad for our society as a whole. We would agree that we need a return to good, solid, Biblical parenting.
We agree with all of that in principle. Say any of those things from a pulpit in America and you’ll probably get some nods and “amens” from the congregation.
But none of those things matter only in a theoretical, big-picture sense. They matter in daily practice. And they matter today.
I want to focus on that word today.
See, God doesn’t want us to believe in the importance of our parental role only in theory. He wants us to act on that belief. He wants us put it into practice.
In other words, we need to believe not just in the vital importance of Christian parenting in general, but in the vital importance of being a good parent to our children today.
Not next week.
Not sometime when it’s easier, simpler, or more convenient.
Because in a very real sense, today—this moment—is all I have.
Let me give you an analogy.
Many of us want to lose a few pounds. We know we should. We know it would do us good. We know it would improve our health and the quality of our lives. We see the importance. And so we decide to start dieting and exercising—tomorrow.
As I remember my mother once observing, however, we never really live a “tomorrow.” Tomorrow is just another today that hasn’t arrived yet. And when it gets here, it’s not going to feel any easier, simpler, or more convenient to make good choices than it does today.
We always have reasons (excuses?) for why today isn’t a good day to begin. I’m meeting friends for coffee. There’s leftover birthday cake on the counter. It’s supposed to rain so I can’t go for a walk. Tomorrow will be better.
If we’re not careful, we can take the same attitude with our parenting. We’ll be late if I take time to deal with the tantrum now. I’m too tired to sort out another squabble. I just need to finish sending this text.
We get lazy. Complacent. Distracted. Preoccupied. It’s not that we’ve stopped believing in the importance of being a good parent; we just don’t want to put in the effort to be a good parent right now.
I’m talking to myself here as well. How many times have I missed opportunities to be the Dad God wants me to be because I was too lazy, distracted, or preoccupied?
The truth is, we can’t embrace our calling tomorrow. We can only do it today. I can only be a good Dad moment by moment, decision by decision. If I lack the character to overcome my natural laziness and apathy and be the involved Dad God wants me to be, it’s not going to be magically easier tomorrow.
So how about it? Will you join me in asking God to help you believe in the vital importance of being a good parent today? And if—like me—you know you need to grow in your own character so you can be the Dad or Mom He wants you to be, will you join me in asking God to bring that change?
Because after all, Christian parenting is important.
And it’s important today.
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