Early in our parenting journey my wife and I heard an anonymous statement that has stuck with us and guided our approach to parenting. “It is better to prepare the child for the road than to prepare the road for the child.” This simple saying contains a wealth of wisdom and really sums up the divide in parenting today. On one side parents feel that they have to do for and provide every advantage for their children in order to ensure their “success.” On the other side, parents strive to teach personal responsibility and allow their children to learn from their mistakes (and the natural consequences of those mistakes.)
Should children be parents’ number one priority?
It almost sounds heretical to suggest otherwise. Of course, the nurture and guidance of our children is a very important responsibility of any parent. Deuteronomy 6 states that our number one responsibility is to love God with all our heart, soul and strength. Then we are to teach that “diligently” to our children. But this command should not be interpreted to mean that our children are our second highest priority after loving God. What it says is that teaching them to love God should be second only to our own love for the Lord. One of the best ways to teach them this is by having all other relationships in proper priority. When our world revolves around our children we are teaching them that they are our number one priority.
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