Who knew that parenting would be filled with overwhelming love and protectiveness, monumental parenting fails, moments of astonishing discovery and the realization of the incredible responsibility that lies in our hands. Who knew how hard (sleepless nights and temper tantrums), how wonderful (smiles that light up the room), how mundane (laundry and potty training) and how amazing (butterfly kisses and ah-ha moments) parenting would really be?
Over the last few months I have been taking some psychology courses that keep pointing to the importance of getting this parenting stuff right. All the research points to an authoritative parenting style as most effective; solid boundaries and expectation within the context of love. This is what Kimberly Eckert’s Raising a Confident Child describes as firm/gentle parenting.
What has resonated most with me in this is that this is exactly the parenting style that God promotes in Ephesians 6:4 ~ “But bring them [children] up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” We nurture someone by providing for their needs, encouraging them and celebrating their successes. When we admonish, we are providing guidance and correction so they know the way to go and how to get back on track when they leave the right path; think GPS for kids.
So when we ask, “Who knew?”, I guess the answer is God! He tells us how to parent our child in this profound statement. All the years of research are encapsulated in these 10 short words. And He shows us how to parent as He is the Father. He wants to nurture us with a love that extends to being willing to give up what He loved most (His Son) to give us what we need (renewed relationship with him). And He admonishes us as He guides us towards the right decisions.