Parenting Purpose Provides Safe Haven For Children
Way back when the Good Lord first said, “Be fruitful and multiply,” the First Couple found themselves on a mission in Eden. It was an assignment that brought a mixture of happiness and grief. A man and woman being in love is heavenly but the reality includes earthly difficulties.
Fruitfulness and multiplying involves having children: parenthood. Two become one, then from their union, offspring. The biblical phrase “become one flesh” is a covenant term. Marriage is a covenant, a safe place for kids. There is no higher kind of union. Marriage first, then babies. That multiplying process incorporates delightful pleasure for two people (i.e.- making a baby) and nine months later, painful labor for one person, the mother. If men had to go through what women suffer in childbirth, I promise you, it would end human reproduction!
The pain for the man is not physical but it can be psychological. His pain comes years later as he struggles with feeling inadequate while watching his kids grapple with social issues that he never had to cope with in his youth. Being married and becoming a parent are two things that you don’t get to practice for. There are no half-measures. You’re married or you’re not; you’re pregnant or you’re not. It is time to grow up, be committed, and be responsible.
I like what Jethro Gibbs said on NCIS: “It takes a man to make a man.” While mothering seems to be passed easily from mother to daughter, many men miss out on the blessing of having a father to mentor them. They are left with a deficit — father-hunger. Being a good father is so much more than being a baby-daddy. Any stud can get a girl pregnant but only a real man can cherish a woman for life. Likewise, it takes years of investment for a father to train his son to be a man. Too many boys never achieve manhood because they never had a man for a father.
Similar to making a covenant and creating marriage, and parallel to the committed love that creates a safe place for children to be trained, is the love of God experienced in a community of believers. The new birth is meant to be in a relational context. God’s kind of love is covenantal. God’s kind of love is committed to the welfare of the object of his love, that is, us.
A “Parenting Purpose” is built into us by our Creator. To the extent that human beings fall from grace, turn away from God, and pursue sinful lifestyles, to that degree they abandon their children and fail as fathers and mothers. The mark of shame on men who renege on their duty as fathers is especially disgraceful. They impoverish the mother and leave their kids with a deficit. Such men are renegades, rebels against God. They need to repent and be discipled.
You can track the rising poverty level and increasing income-inequality in America by statistics. What the statistics don’t reveal, however, is how the decline of two-parent families contributes to generational poverty in the culture. The rich get richer and the poor struggle, and the absence of fathers is directly connected to this dilemma. Only the church, expressing the kingdom of God in flesh and blood human situations, can remedy this progressive national decay.
RON WOOD IS A WRITER AND MINISTER. CONTACT HIM AT WOOD.STONE.RON@GMAIL.COM OR VISIT WWW. TOUCHEDBYGRACE.ORG. THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR.