The most honest thing I can tell you about parenting is that it is mostly a self-struggle.
What will people think of me?
How will I mess up my kids?
How do I handle it when my dreams for my child have died?
Why have I failed miserably?
It’s all my fault.
These are just a few of the running conversations we have in our head, as parents. It’s little wonder we are constantly exhausted, and not just because of all the crazy hours we put in doing the actual parenting.
In this struggle, there’s a copious amount of fear. Nuclear level, actually, and good thing you can’t unscrew our heads or open our chests to our heart to see just how much.
On the high end of the fearful parenting scale is PC (politically correct) parenting. In the PC way, we have to do it right and acceptable so no one will judge us. And as you may know, the fear of being judged sits chief among all parents. (I rarely say all, because all is too broad. But I think all here. I mean to say all.)
So I dropped the idea a while ago. I have a million things to mourn as a parent, and I don’t need to add my constant self-struggle with the fear of being judged as one of them.
The truth is, one day I suspect we will have an epidemic of mournful PC parents saying these 2 things:
I just wanted my kids to like me.
I just wanted to respect the way my kids felt.
Because at the core, PC parenting is mostly about letting the kids lead the way. To this day, every time I’m tempted to buy into one of the two above trains of thought, I remember why I dropped the idea of PC parenting in the first place.
- It doesn’t work. PC parenting sounds good but it doesn’t actually work. It’s not hard to see the results of this, I think. Children without boundaries, not respecting themselves or others, not understanding the precious value of absolutes and guardrails of yes and no, operating from the mistaken belief system that whatever they feel they can say, do and build they life choices upon – this is what we have walking around because parents just want to be liked and put too much stock into feelings. Even in general society, we are seeing the results of this – poor customer service, entitlement culture, etc. — and will even more in the days and years to come.
- It isn’t actual parenting. We didn’t sign on for easy when we became parents. We didn’t sign on to make friends and have companions in life. If we did, we chose
parentingfor the wrong reason(s), and we can still make it right. When we choose PC parenting, we choose to put our needs over the needs of our kids (even letting them lead the way is a need of ours, not theirs, because kids want guidance despite what they say and how strongly they try to take over), and this isn’t the description of parenting, according to Scripture. (Eph., Prov., I Cor. and many other places speak to this.) The Bible talks about commitment and choice over feelings (see Deut.30), and never does it say that parenting requires us to bend to the feelings of our children, but in fact, talks about the opposite. Yes, we treat them tenderly, listen and love, caring for the way they feel. But we guide them to understand that feelings not only shouldn’t rule and dictate behavior, but they lie to us and lead us down dangerous roads many times in our life.
- It doesn’t honor God. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but anytime we parent to keep up with society or be politically correct in order to stay in step with the world rather than the Word, we dishonor our God who blessed us with our children in the first place. It’s not being judgmental to say that the world’s way is wrong and God’s way is right: it’s what a Jesus follower must believe to our core and exercise in every area of our life – including parenting. As the line becomes more clearly drawn in the sand by society, we will have to decide how deeply we intend to honor God with our parenting and do whatever it takes to live what we say in a very tangible way.
Look, we all have hearts soft as mush for our kids. We adore them. But to be a parent is to let God take the natural and strain the self out of it until all that’s left is what’s best. All parents need His straining. Many times, I could have used even more but I was too stubborn to let Him.
Parents, I love us. I believe in us. God wants to use us in our kid’s lives, to grow them into the warriors they are meant to be. There’s never been a more important time to get on board with what God wants to do in the next generation – many of whom we are parenting under our same roof.
We can’t do that if we are trying to be PC parents.
Despite our mistakes and things we wish we would have done better, I want us to look back one day and say, I parented well. I did things God’s way.
We can. We really can.
With you in the parenting trenches.
Love Jesus most.
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