Spiritual Parenting: An Awakening for Today’s Families
- Thursday, June 10, 2010
Editor's Note: There are so many "how to" parenting books on the market, busy parents may wonder why we need another book on raising children. But the recently-released Spiritual Parenting (David C. Cook, 2010) isn't another book offering parenting techniques. Author Michelle Anthony, Ed. D. focuses on your role as a parent and follower of Christ. In the following interview, Michelle Anthony shares words of wisdom on what it means to be a more spiritually-minded parent.
Michelle Anthony, Ed. D, is a Pastor of Family Ministries of ROCKHARBOR Church in Costa Mesa, California. A former professor of Biola University and Talbot School of Theology, Anthony has written over a dozen resources for Christian Education and Family/Youth Ministries. Michelle and her husband, Michael, have two children and live in Orange County, California.
Many parents believe entrust their children's spiritual lives to "professionals" like pastors and Sunday School teachers. Why don't you support this philosophy?
We cannot afford to relegate spiritual discussions to an hour on Sunday, not when parents have influence over and access to their children's hearts throughout the week—and the Holy Spirit is on the job 24/7! Spiritual parenting, as a philosophy, encourages us to parent with eternity in mind, highlighting faith as it affects every area of family life. I believe we need to drop the wall between secular and sacred, because the trajectory of our children's hearts and beliefs influences every part of their lives.
What is the goal of spiritual parenting?
We parents should be in the business of putting our children in the path of the divine. Rather than seeking to control their behavior (doing the right things, saying the right words), we should be seeking to help our children fall in love with Jesus. I've described the goal of spiritual parenting this way:
The passing on a vibrant and transforming faith, the kind of faith in which:
• My children would know and hear God's voice, discerning it from all others;
• They would desire to obey Him when they heard His voice;
• They would obey Him not in their own power, but in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Our goal as parents should be to endeavor to pass down our faith to the next generation in such a way that they will be able to pass down their faith to the following generation in our absence. Someday we won't be here, and all that will remain is that which is eternal—those things that we have successfully transferred to our children, and our children's children, so that faith will endure to all generations.
What's the first step into spiritual parenting?
One thing is especially true of spiritual parenting: you can't give away something you don't have! It's our job to model with authenticity what we have in our relationship with God through Christ. Our children hunger to see the reality of who God is in the natural flow of our lives—when we're getting up, when we're sitting down, when we're on a journey, when we're putting them to bed. Its' not that the formalized methodology is bad, because it definitely has a place. It's just that it's not best apart from a role model. Our children need to see that faith matters, that it's relevant to our daily situations, that it's real. We need to model how our lives are spiritual in every decision. They need to witness firsthand that our faith is not merely something we compartmentalize when it's convenient to do so.
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