Parenting not “Peerenting”

I know what you are probably thinking…”Why would I ever take parenting advice from someone who doesn’t even have kids?” Let me assure you that this post is not meant to be advice on parenting. It is not a platform for me to tell parents that they are doing a terrible job rearing there children…but a simple observation on the importance of parents discipling their kids.

I recently overheard a conversation between a parent and a child that caused alarms to go off in my head. As a Christian the conversation made my heart sink…as a youth pastor it made my hair stand on end. A student was talking to her friend within ear shot of her parent…talking about a movie that she had recently seen. The parent took interest in the conversation and said, “That movie looked really good.” The daughter responded by saying, “Yeah, it was really funny…but I don’t know if you would like it.” The girl continued by nonchalantly explaining that the movie contained suggestive material, inappropriate language, and nudity. The parent responded to the girls comment with acceptance and amusement. “Oh yeah…that does sound funny…I think I want to see that.”

Allow me to take a break from this story for a moment to lower my blood pressure and to make a few observations as a youth pastor. I feel that one of the greatest aspects of my job is partnering with parents to help in the spiritual development of their youth. I am not their parent…I am not a babysitter. I firmly believe that parenting is the highest form of mentorship. My impact on a student’s life pales in comparison to the impact a parent can have on their own child.

I am constantly having people ask me questions about youth culture and why our kids are so lost. The focus seems to always be thrust upon the “culture” and how it is manipulating and drawing kids away. But I often wonder, where are the parents? What about their responsibly to their children? Are they not charged with the task of raising their children in godliness? I am pretty sure that no parent brings a child into this world then looks to the doctor and says, “My goal is to mess this kid up…I want them to be spiritually unhealthy.” In essence this is what’s happening. My mentor used to always talk to me about a spiritual ceiling. He would say that the majority of students will only rise to the spiritual ceiling or bar set by their parents. The problem is that a lot of church going, Christian parents have 7ft. drop panel ceilings.

When I overheard this conversation all I could think of was “train up a child in the way he should go”(Proverbs 22:6). It broke my heart to see a parent condoning their child’s pursuit of worldly behavior. I am tired of being the one who is expected to train someone else’s child in godliness. I am not a proponent of the family integrated movement. I understand my role as a student pastor and see biblical principles that support and validate my ministry. I am a proponent for parents doing the work of the ministry and being ambassadors of Christ in their kid’s lives. I have noticed that many parents are setting their spiritual ceiling far too low and it is affecting their children. There seems to be a lack of personal spiritual care. Many parents want their child to grow spiritually, but are unwilling to be the one to set the bar and disciple them.

I am the product of positive discipleship. My parents were constant examples of Christ and did all they could to raise me to be a man of God. I had a youth pastor who partnered with them in ministry to me…which is a large reason why I am in youth ministry today. My spiritual growth is a direct result of God’s grace reaching through my parents to me. I see the absolute need for parents to answer the biblical call of training their children. It is my prayer that parents will seize the opportunity that God has given to them…that they will understand they are the best mentor their child could ever have.

-Chris

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About onebeatblog

Our purpose is to equip, empower, and encourage those involved in student ministry!

Posted on December 2, 2011, in Cultural Issues, Parenting and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I agree that youth workers who aren’t yet parents shouldn’t be presumptuous in giving parenting advice. However, a lot of parents are willing to listen, and if a youth pastor or volunteer whom their teenager respects and loves says, “Listen, sometimes the best thing you can do is to set boundaries and tick off your kid,” they’ll stop and take notice. Sometimes parents need to hear the truth that if they’re kids are annoyed at the boundaries they’ve set for them, they’re probably doing a good job as parents.

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