The Power Of Parenting

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Being a good parent is one of the hardest yet most rewarding roles in life. It requires wisdom, patience and grace in abundance. But many of us struggle to find the right balance- knowing when to exert our authority and when to loosen the reigns to allow our children more freedom.

The Bible offers valuable guidance for parents, especially fathers, who bear much responsibility for shaping the home. Colossians 3:21 tells fathers: “do not provoke your children lest they become discouraged.” But what does that truly mean? How can fathers inspire their children rather than discourage them?

  • The most important parenting work comes from having a transformed life in Christ – having a secure identity, godly character, and a harmonious marriage. Focusing just on the advice in Colossians 3:21 is not sufficient.
  • Fathers have a lot of responsibility and power in shaping the household. But Paul is reorienting parental power to steward that power well and end up with relationship and influence, not just control.
  • Fathers are warned not to provoke their children in a way that discourages them. Seven ways fathers provoke their children are identified: disrespecting and intimidating them, conditional or unpredictable affection, teasing gone too far, passive aggressive motivational comments, comparing with other kids, not listening, and not admitting fault and asking forgiveness.
  • The key is for fathers to shift from having 100% power and control at the beginning to 0% power and control at the end, but still maintaining a relationship of warmth, care and influence. This mirrors how God relates to us.
  • The example of John G. Patton’s father is given as the kind of fatherhood to aspire to – caring, praying, and looking out for his son.

The blessings of being a good parent extend far beyond our children – they have the power to transform our own lives, freeing us from the need for power and control. When we loosen our grip on authority and seek to nourish our children’s souls rather than dominate their actions, we learn humility, patience and trust in God’s sovereignty.

The story of John G. Patton’s father illustrates the kind of selfless, prayerful and care-oriented fatherhood we should aspire to. Though none of us will parent perfectly, we can resolve today to build our fatherhood on the example of our own Heavenly Father – whose love casts out fear and whose grace redeems our imperfections. Though the journey will not be easy, the rewards are well worth it for those willing to walk in obedience, trusting God to do the work only He can do.


Colossians 3:20-21

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