Parenting Generation Z (Gen Z)
Do you ever feel that your child thinks you don't love them? I am sure this happens regularly.
I have been in Christian education for over 30 years now. In that time, I have seen a significant shift in how parents interact with their kids. Many factors challenge parents today, ranging from single-parent family structures to overcommitted families who don't have adequate time for their kids. But maybe one of the most challenging things is a displaced focus on kids. As a young father, I remember reading about Abraham in the Old Testament and praying that God would look on me in the same way. Genesis 18:19 (NIV) 19 "For I have chosen him so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him." This passage helped me focus on my role as the father in the home. My part was active or directive, not passive.
Frequently parents find themselves in a position where they do not direct their children but often discover themselves servants of their children. John Piper posted a Tweet that brought some critical feedback based on today's parenting culture. John Piper – "You must bear the burden of responsibility that your children BE loved, but you dare not bear the burden of guaranteeing that they FEEL loved. In that case, you would replace God's objective command with their subjective response and make a human the arbiter of obligation." His statement can seem harsh, but you can see that parents have a responsibility to love their children when you read it carefully. Piper was trying to communicate that just like we are not the ones to judge whether God loves us based on our circumstances, children are not the ones to judge whether their parents love them based on their circumstances. Unfortunately, in today's hyper-social media culture, your child is trained to measure your love based on the criteria set by their peers, social media, and pop culture.
If you love your child following Biblical guidelines, they will feel loved. I can't imagine being held responsible by my child to an everchanging, ego-centric, pop-cultural criteria for love. Let's parent biblically, and our children will be loved!
Proverbs 1:8-9 ESV Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.
Ephesians 6:4 ESV Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Psalm 127:3-5 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
Proverbs 22:6 ESV Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.