Belly Button Parenting
It’s a weird concept I grant you, but “Belly Button Parenting” is a dangerous trap that I and many others have fallen into. What is “Belly Button Parenting”? Simply this... raising kids from our own perspective and opinions. When you think about it, our individual opinions are so varied and so common they are like Belly Buttons... EVERYONE HAS ONE.
Is that really a healthy way to raise kids? No of course not, none of us would consciously seek to raise our families from just our own viewpoints would we? Shouldn’t we read parenting books and seek the counsel of those older and wiser, parents and pastors and friends for advice? Wouldn’t it make sense to gather as much information and research and reviews as possible before we take the next step in helping our little ones become adults?
I know you moms are saying already... I DO THAT. ALL THE TIME, and I READ SO MUCH about this it confuses me to no end. There are SOOO MANY books and SOOO MANY opinions from SOOO MANY experts it’s truly exhausting. So what’s a parent to do? If you tried to do what every good idea or opinion suggested, you would end up tied in so many knots you literally wouldn’t be able to do a single thing.
In my 17 years of parenthood, I’ve read many books by some very wise and Godly men and women and from those I’ve gleaned some great nuggets of truth, those tidbits combined with my own history and my families past mistakes have helped me to form my own philosophy of parenting. But that philosophy is very much an extension of my own preferences and opinions and as such is only as helpful as the truth behind it.
What can we truly turn to for sound advice and Godly counsel that is distinctly helpful and unbiased ?
The Word of God. I’m sure you already guessed where I was heading with this one, but it’s so simple and yet so profound. Reading in the word on a regular basis is the only sure way to gain the wisdom and discernment so essential to a healthy home and faithful parenting. Go ahead, read and research each issue, but in the end, I believe it must line up with the Scriptures if we are going to have any chance of seeing our little ones follow Jesus with their whole heart.
I have counseled many families, couples and single parents over the years and the one repeated danger I find repeated in almost every case, is the tendency to over-emphasize the opinions of the well-intentioned and under state the timeless and priceless principles of the word of God.
In today’s world of multi-media saturation and myopic ministries, families can become torn apart by the temptation to figure it out on the fly... to “cross that bridge” when we get there, or to simply read the latest best seller when life circumstances get out of control... Please don’t.
Consider instead, investing in a regular time every day in the word and in prayer. Consider asking openly and unashamed for help from our creator and our perfect “Heavenly Father’. I believe that the Word of God combined with the very active and gentle Holy Spirit will guide us into perfect peace and wisdom for each and every child we care for, with specific and unique insights that are essential to winning their hearts and minds.
Cookie Cutter templates of discipline and devotions are OK, but in the end, I believe if we are not seeking out God’s perfect plan for our kids we risk creating little monsters who learn to avoid our wrath and fake their responses to get what they want. In doing so, they avoid the real issues of their life and faith and living altogether.
So many parents find themselves at a loss for what to do when their little ones grow into teens and face the absolute horror and confusion of finding out that their child has suddenly become disconnected emotionally from their home, their families and their faith.
What then... ?
Don’t PANIC, seek out wise counsel, pray with your comrades and spouses for direction and wisdom. Get in the word and find His perfect solution, it’s in there... I guarantee it! God will not leave us alone and lost and confused. But in your anxiety, don’t revert to someone’s opinion for something so critical to your life.
Blessings to you all, as you like me... want to “keep your families in between the lines and on the road of life!” And as a reminder, it’s never too early to get your kids interested in God’s word.
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