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You Can't Outsource Parenting

Parenting is something like a glorious agony. If you have been a parent for any length of time, you can understand what I mean.

I have two children, a boy and a girl, twins, age 17. They truly are blessings from the Lord as the psalmist wrote, but it has not been an easy 17 years. There have been many tough conversations, times of discipline, and intense training sessions. But there have also been incredible times of joy - humbling joy - to know that my children are actually listening to what I am saying, and even adopting the same biblical mindset I am seeking to instill in them.

It was a joy for me to baptize them, hearing their salvation testimonies, and of their desire to follow the Lord with their lives.

It is a joy for me to watch them grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ through their own devotional time, through times of "family devotions," and through their participation in public worship.

It is a joy for me to hear of them talk about how they want to continue following the Lord and serving him in local church ministry, helping the pastor however they can in college and beyond. As I have pondered parenting, one thing I have learned is that my job as a parent cannot be outsourced.

Companies outsource certain jobs to save money and time or to do a specific task. But parenting is not a job that can be delegated to someone else.

And yet I fear that many parents, even Christian parents, sometimes seek to do this because of how difficult parenting can be. Now, what I am about to say, I say carefully and lovingly, but if parents do not want the difficult job of raising their children, they should not have had the children in the first place. God blesses married couples with children for a reason: to raise them for the glory of God. This is a difficult, time-consuming, sometimes agonizing, yet joyful opportunity.

Parents, you cannot outsource your parenting to any educational institution. Daycare, nurseries, elementary schools (public or private), or Christian colleges. It is not their job to parent your children. It is yours. Other places may be helpful, but they cannot replace you as a parent.

You cannot outsource your parenting to any religious institution. God primarily tasks the parents to teach the children the word and ways of God (Deuteronomy 6) and to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6). It is not primarily the job of the church, or the Christian school, or the Christian camp, or the Sunday School teacher, or Junior Church teacher to do this. Other people can help support what you are teaching, but the task is given to the parents.

You cannot outsource your parenting to friends. You can't just send your children to someone else's home for them to deal with and to teach your children. Again, other people can be helpful as role models, mentors, etc. Yet the primary task of parenting your children is given to you as the parents.

It is time for more Christian dads and moms - with the dad taking the lead - to humble themselves before God, and take up the task that has been given them. There is room for others to help. But you cannot outsource parenting to anyone else.

God has given you these blessings which we call children. God's grace will equip you to raise them to glorify him. Humble yourself before God. Cry out for his help, his wisdom, and his grace. Pray for your children. Be faithful to your calling as parents.

It is hard work. Not every child will listen or follow. But as parents, we are responsible before God to do our best to be faithful parents. Seek to do so for the glory of God.


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