Good parenting starts with Jesus

March 29, 2010

By the time you read this, I will be on my way home from a week-long journey in South America. I went there last Saturday with 19 others from Antioch for a mission trip. This week, we have been digging latrines, pouring concrete, and teaching.
Jorge and Karen Silva, who started the Christian mission in Colombia called “Proyecto Libertad” in 1997, have a heart for a particular place there.
Here’s what their Web site says about it:
Bocachica is an underdeveloped island community located about 25 minutes off the coast by speedboat. There is no running water, no plumbing system and poor sanitation conditions. The majority of the 12,000 residents live in very poor conditions and half of the population are children. Most “Bocachiqueños” struggle to make ends meet by fishing, making and selling local handmade crafts and other tourism-related jobs.
In such desperate situations, God has heard the cry of his children and has responded by sending people to help meet the physical needs, while ministering the loving gospel of Jesus Christ.
On four separate evenings, our team had the opportunity to sit down with the people in Bocachica and talk about what the Bible says about being good parents. That’s what they wanted us to teach them about.
Though they live in a completely different culture and though they face clean water and sanitation challenges on a daily basis, their question was, “Will you teach us how to be good parents?” It is the same wherever parents live, isn’t it? Wherever families exist, questions abound that are the same no matter the race, language, or socioeconomic status.
Questions like, “How do we discipline our children?” In fact, it has been a question on parents’ minds for some time.
The story goes that Owen Wister, an old college friend of Theodore Roosevelt, was visiting him at the White House one day and saw Roosevelt’s daughter Alice keep running in and out of the room.
Wister finally asked if there wasn’t something Roosevelt could do to control her.
“Well,” said the president, “I can do one of two things. I can be president of the United States or I can control Alice. I cannot possibly do both.”
One missionary to the Philippines submitted this book of rules that children are born already knowing how to follow. She called it, “Property Laws of a Toddler” with the subtitle, “Evidences of Original Sin”: 1. If I like it, it’s mine. 2. If it’s in my hand, it’s mine. 3. If I can take it from you, it’s mine. 4. If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine. 5. If it’s mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way. 6. If I’m doing or building something, all the pieces are mine. 7. If it looks just like mine, it’s mine. 8. If I saw it first, it’s mine. 9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine. 10. If it’s broken, it’s yours. The truth is, it’s not just children who have mastered these rules. That’s why we started our conference on “parenting” by looking at our own hearts. We need to learn to be good husbands and wives first. Even before that, we need to learn to follow Jesus Christ. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from Me,” Jesus said. There it is. Good parenting and good marriages start with Jesus.