You probably don’t need me to tell you that parenting is not easy nor is there anything to be afraid of. We live in a dangerous world where all sorts of crazy things are happening on a regular basis. Yet, for right or wrong I don’t actually think about those crazy things such as terrorism or kidnapping that often. However, there are three fears that I think about regularly.
I wanted to share honestly from my life about these fears and also start a conversation of how to combat these fears which I would contend are legitimate concerns.
1) They won’t have friends (won’t be cool).
I remember the challenges when I was in school. I was not exactly the coolest of kids (being short and having big ears didn’t help at all!) It is hard when you are being teased or simply not accepted by others. Those things can cause you to do weird things to try and get accepted. It can also lead to serious discouragement that robs you of peace and joy.
2) They won’t be interested in Jesus.
This is my biggest fear obviously because eternity is at stake. It is heart wrenching and unthinkable to begin imagining your child not being eternally secure in the presence of God. Since I am a pastor of a church in Sioux Falls, there is a little extra pressure in this regard even though that should not be a motivating factor it does creep into my mind. How would it look if the pastor’s kids didn’t want anything to do with the church? The main concern is their eternal well-being and they experience the life God desires for them which is through faith in Jesus Christ.
3) We won’t be able to afford what they want.
I am really bad at saying no -- especially to my daughter who gets whatever she wants. However, I know that is not a healthy thing, nor can it continue as they get older. There is a lot of pressure to have certain stuff or wear certain brands. Sometime not having those things can make someone feel inferior. I worry that as our kids get older we will have to say "no' more often while other kids don’t hear no about the same things.
Those are fears that I have as we raise our kids here in Sioux Falls. I don’t want to just list fears, but also share some things I seek to do to combat them. Here are three things I do to combat those fears:
- First and foremost, I seek to continually proclaim the good news of Jesus in word and deed with patience and gentleness. This is by no means easy or always successful. It is my number one responsibility to make sure my children hear about Jesus from me and see an example of someone following Jesus.
- Secondly, I seek to put them in an environment where they can experience healthy relationships. This is why my family loves our church so much in Sioux Falls. Our church is our extended family. That mean that my kids have older siblings as well as lots of aunts and uncles. No matter what size of church you attend I would encourage you to make sure it’s a place where your kids can have relationships with people of all ages. Yes, our kids need peers who are good friends but it is just as important to have caring adults besides parents in their lives as well.
- Thirdly, I strive to be an example of contentment. My kids need to see me experiencing peace without having every latest gadget or the coolest clothing. If I have to have everything in order to be content then I can’t expect anything different from them. I think I could do a better job of doing the simple things with my kids to show how enjoyment can come from taking a walk, building a fort out of blankets, or playing with a ball in the yard. Expensive toys or gadgets are not a requirement for a life of enjoyment and I need to lead by example.
There are no easy formulas for dealing with these fears. Along with doing those three things there are also key truths I need to part of my DNA in order to combat these fears. I will share those in the coming weeks in another blog post.
Maybe your fears are different than mine, but I hope they are not controlling you nor are you seating by idly and doing nothing about legitimate concerns. What parenting fears do you have? What have you found to be good ways of dealing with these concerns or your concerns?