Instead of having "avoiding pain" as our parenting goal, our goal as parents should be to train our children to see Jesus and to know how to access His TRUTH to find healing from pain. My children are still relatively young so in our lives this often translates to ending time-outs in prayer. I have learned in my own life that I cannot do the things I want or need to do without the help of Jesus and that I need to ask for His help. I've also learned that He is more than GENEROUS in providing help in my time of need. My children and I often come into His presence and learn how to rely on Him to move on from our places of need.
Formerly, I thought my goal was to be "Jesus" to my kids; that by looking through me and my life they would then be able to see God. While the intent of my heart was good, the results were not. This perspective often caused me to fall into anger and frustration at myself when I failed because I was not able to provide a perfect picture of God. But God showed me one day that I don't need to be perfect, He had already provided the perfect mediator and that I kept getting in the way. The following is what I have been learning since that day and applying in my own life. I am not perfect. If my children look through me first to see God there will ALWAYS be imperfection in the way and it will blur their picture of God. How often have you heard people say they cannot understand the Father heart of God because they had an imperfect father here on earth? The problem comes in because we are translating God first through our human perspective. This model of parenting goes:
Kids (see) Parents (then see) God.
The result of this sytle of parenting is a skewed perspective of God.
I truly believe our goal instead is to direct our children to see Jesus and see Jesus first:
Kids (see) Jesus (see) God.
Where are we in all of this. We are NEXT to our kids looking at Jesus.
Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
We do not need to be the stepping stone to God for our children. He is more than able to meet them directly. Instead, we need to teach and train our children to see Jesus and to see the world as Jesus sees it.
How does Jesus see the world? "He (the enemy) has come to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10a)." But Jesus also says, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to abundance (John 10:10b)." Your children WILL have pain in this life because the enemy still exists. If your goal as a parent is to help them avoid pain at all costs then you will end up being very frustrated because it is an impossible goal.
What does this style of parenting look like? For me it has been:
- Being vulnerable with God and allowing Him to heal my heart in many areas.
- To learn what spiritual warfare looks like and learning how to fight it.
- To take these lessons and principles I've learned and apply them practically with my children.
- Letting go of the concept of trying to raise children who will never experience pain.
- My goal instead is to raise warriors who recognize how to fight and when the pain does come, even from me, that they know who and where they can ALWAYS go to find safety and healing.
(As a bonus: If the pain from your childhood has skewed your perspective of God, take the source of the pain out of the way and put the cross between you and them. They weren't meant to be there in the first place. The best step to find healing in that instance is to have YOU then THE CROSS and then the source of pain).