This summer, I was listening to a podcast by Focus on the Family. On the podcast, Gary Bauer and James Dobson were discussing a book they had co-authored. It was entitled Children at Risk, Winning the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of Your Children, copyright date 1990.  That’s correct – it was written 30+ years ago. I read this book when our children were pre-school age. After the podcast, I picked it back up and reread certain pages. We are in a culture war now as we were then, but it is not hopeless with Christ, nor is it hopeless for parents who want to build their house upon the Rock of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Psalm 127: 1-3 gives us insight. “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late; to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep. Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.”  One way God is building his kingdom is through parents who love Jesus and model their Christian faith in their homes, at the ballpark, at the workplace, and in I-285 traffic!  Oh yes, little eyes are watching!
This passage of Scripture tells us to trust the work of God to build our family. I know Dads who have refused promotions because doing so would involve a transfer, more travel, or more time away from the family. The increase in salary wasn’t worth the sacrifice; that is faith in action.
In Gospel-Centered Parenting, the authors challenge the reader to a comparison chart. In it, there are areas which define a Gospel-centered parent. To provoke thought, I will list a few here:

  • Find satisfaction in God alone, rather than worshipping family success.
  • Believe and teach their children that God loves them and works all things for their good, even amid disappointments and suffering.
  • Knowing they already enjoy the favor of God through Jesus who died for them, they are free to parent in love, not out of pressure to impress.

I love what Michael Youssef says in his book entitled Hope for This Present Crisis. He talks about an old African proverb which says, “it takes a village to raise a child.” Yet, the modern day “village” in this proverb is society – schools, doctors, businesses, but most of all, government programs. I agree with Dr. Youssef’s position in that it does not take a village to raise a child. God’s design is perfect; it’s called a family and at the head of the family are the parents who have placed themselves under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
If you have not read Dr. Youssef’s book, I encourage you to do so.  He offers practical steps to restoring a world gone mad and shares tips for parents! If you have heard the slogan, “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition,” but never knew where it originated, you need to read page 159. Throughout the book, you will be challenged to know Christ more fully and to make Him known to a world that is hurting and without hope apart from Christ.  (If you are curious, send me an email, I’ll explain the slogan!)