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Posts Tagged ‘family’

A salute to Primary Carers

March 8th, 2013

I’m not normally a fan of ‘Hallmark Card’ occasions, but I make an exception for Mothering Sunday. Not only because I love my mum, but also because it’s one of those rare times when our society acknowledges a role that in many ways is counter-cultural.

In fact, any primary carer; whether a dad, foster or adoptive parent, or carer of a disabled adult, fulfils a role that goes against the grain.

How is this? Because these roles involve humility and self-sacrifice; the laying down of your life for another. Things that have the familiar ring of the Good News of Jesus about them, and things which are not exactly celebrated in society. In fact, many of the values society holds dearest are relinquished in order to become a primary carer; personal freedom & independence, academic achievement, and career ambitions, to name a few.

In two fantastic blogs on Motherhood, Melissa McDonald and Rachel Jankovic explore this further. If you’re a mother I urge you to read them and be encouraged!

Being a primary carer is hard. It takes all of you. But in doing it you are reflecting the life of the Servant King Jesus who “came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20.28).

So in our church, let’s honour and esteem our primary carers, and look to learn something from them about how we can be more like Jesus.

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Terrific Twos

May 25th, 2012

If you’re a parent with children of toddler age or older, you can probably relate to the stereotypical scenario of the public meltdown in aisle seven of the local supermarket, and perhaps, understand why the phrase ‘the terrible two’s’ is applied to children at that stage of life.  I’m a dad to a 2-and-a-half year-old (who is already planning her 3rd birthday party), and I have to say that my experience so far is that this is the best age yet! Let me give you some examples of why.

So we’re trying out the see-saw at the playground and my daughter says ‘I’m happy’. Rewarding enough! I then ask ‘what makes you happy’, to which she replies ‘you make me happy’, at which point I nearly fall off the see-saw, overcome with parental joy.

Here’s another one: ‘Daddy, I don’t like your singing’, ‘why not?’, ‘because I’ve got finger paints’.

How can anyone talk about the terrible twos when your toddler comes out with gems like that?!

Now don’t get me wrong, there are definite challenges of this stage. In fact I’d say that as well as being the best age yet, it is also the most challenging yet (although admittedly I’ve only a couple of years’ experience to draw on!). But the delights of daily seeing my daughter develop as a person and discover the world far outweigh the difficulties. The main reason I can say this is because I have the perspective that being a Christian parent gives me.

Firstly, the perfect model that my Heavenly Father is for me as an earthly one.

Secondly, the fact that there is a purpose to it all, which Colossians 1v28-29 explains well; to present our children mature in Christ. No mean feat! But this can be done with all the wisdom, power and energy that He provides!

Thirdly, the fact that being a parent is a faith thing. We can walk in utter dependence upon God, and while we can’t do it without Him, with Him we can prevail and have a healthy family life and fulfil the purpose of seeing our children develop to maturity in Christ.

Fourthly, the dreaded ‘D’-word! In the last 6 months we’ve had to discipline our daughter in some form on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. This is a big challenge and my wife and I have wrestled with questions like ‘are we being consistent?’ and ‘are we going to ruin our relationship with her?!’ But again, the Bible has much encouragement! Hebrews 12v11 says “no discipline is pleasant at the time, but painful”. That pain is felt by the parent as well as the child! But it also talks about God’s disciplining of us, and how it means that He is treating us as sons and dealing lovingly with us. God’s discipline means that He is shepherding us, not leaving us to our own devices, and that He has a plan to make us more like Jesus. Discipline is an act of God’s grace!

Knowing God’s discipline has definitely helped me to reflect His grace-filled approach to disciplining my daughter (although I don’t always get it right!). And the more I have to do it, the more I understand that discipline is a good thing, and an essential tool in reaching the parenting goal of our child’s maturity[1], and salvation[2].

So if you’re a parent to a toddler, or to a smaller tot who will soon be running around, talking non-stop, and pushing at those boundaries, be encouraged! God is using you to bless your children, and there is a purpose and a goal to it all. Oh, and don’t forget – enjoy every minute!


[1] Proverbs 22v15 & 29v17

[2] Proverbs 19v18 & 23v13

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