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The Value of Intentional Parenting (Part 2)

The Value of Intentional Parenting (Part 2)

JULY 19, 2022  |  8.5 MINUTE LISTEN

Listen on Spotify, Apple, and Google

Episode Overview

Part of living like Jesus is being fully present with others. But are we doing this well? And if not, how can we?

On today’s episode of The Approach, we’ll discuss and pray about how we can be intentional and present in our parenting and in our walk with the next generation.

Read the Script

Welcome to The Approach. This is one of our prayer habit episodes where we pause, reflect, and pray on what we discussed on our last episode. A few weeks ago, we had a great conversation with Jason Braun and Matt Crittendon from Dad Camp. I’d also encourage you to subscribe to their podcast called Dad Nation, which can be found wherever you get podcasts.

Jason and Matt talked a lot about presence. Gen Z is a generation that has not always had someone be incredibly present and willing to enter into relationship with them. Along with that, Matt shared that dads can be physically present but not mentally or emotionally present. This goes for all of us who are walking with the next generation. We can be there physically, but our minds are elsewhere—on our phones, thinking about work, or numbing out with TV or video games. And I’ve seen this played out firsthand.

A few years ago, my grandfather passed away, and leading up to that, he spent a few years in a nursing home. Grandpa was a stern figure. He was an immovable object. You didn’t mess with him, and he knew he carried that weight.

In his final years, my dad would drive 20 minutes once a week to go visit his dad. And I’ll never forget something he said to me. He told me he showed up to see his dad once a week, sat down across from his father, and they didn’t speak. They just sat there. Dad said that they had nothing to talk about. They didn’t go on vacations when dad was a kid, they didn’t play catch in the backyard, they didn’t have a true father-son relationship. So, decades later, in grandpa’s final years, there they sat, in silence, with no conversation to have, no memories to recollect, in a cold and an impersonal nursing home.

Grandpa later expressed his regret for how his relationships with his children were. As a grandfather, he was there for me, calling me after every single basketball game to process the game, telling me what I did right, and telling me to stop yelling at refs, even though he always yelled at them, too. He corrected the way he went wrong. But the hurt was still there for my dad.

I suppose I benefited from his parenting style, though. Because, as my dad said, he just hopes when he’s the one sitting in the nursing home, me and my two brothers will have something to talk to him about. And Dad, if you’re listening, don’t worry, we will. Because you were there—not just physically with your feet kicked up, reading the paper. You checked my homework; you asked about my day; you were and are imperfect; but you were there more than physically.

Well during our last episode, as we talked about this topic of presence, this is one way we can reshape our children’s view of who Jesus is. Remember—Jesus stepped into our shoes. He left His place next to the Father and walked on earth, as a human, just like you. He was fully present with humanity—which, of course, changed everything.

Parenting, or walking with the next generation if you aren’t a parent, is a bit like the incarnation. You have to climb into the lives of your kids and be fully present with them. And in some moments, I wish I didn’t have to. And Jesus had similar moments; moments He wished He didn’t have to either, like when He asked the disciples, “How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you?” (Mark 9:19 NLT).

Let’s start today with a passage that reminds of the love we experience from Christ. It’s this love that we’re aiming to pour into the next generation. But first, we have to experience it ourselves.

From Ephesians 3:19.

May you experience the love of Christ.

Then you will be made complete.

We all have tendencies that keep us from going deep in relationships with our kids. Some vice, right? Maybe it’s too much TV, maybe it’s working too much, or maybe it’s not being home enough. For me, I’m in my head far too often, thinking about the day or the next day or something I just read. And I miss conversations, I miss moments I should be enjoying because, well, I’m not there mentally. My body is, but the rest of me isn’t.

Does this happen to you? If you’re married, ask your spouse—they might be able to help you realize it. Let’s think through what it is for you and ask God to catch us the next time it happens, so that when we begin to mentally drift away or numb ourselves instead of being present, we will choose to remain in the situation with our whole being. Ask God for the strength to do this. 

This topic was a bit heavy for me to write about. As I thought about what it must’ve been like for my dad to not have a deep relationship with his father, I found myself wishing he had had what I had. But I can’t change that. What I can do is continue to live out a life with my kids that models the presence of God. God is with us more than in thought, more than in Spirit, He is fully and completely with you and in you. And because of that, we have the power to be the parents, aunts, uncles, grandmas, and grandpas that Jesus calls us to be. We can be there for our kids and the next generation and point them toward a life that walks with God when we are empowered by the Holy Spirit.

We’re in the season of Pentecost. The first Sunday of this season is the celebration of the Holy Spirit being poured out onto the disciples (Acts 2). Before this, Jesus tells His disciples that they “will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8 NLT). The Holy Spirit coming onto them was something the disciples had to wait for before they could go. Jesus told them not to leave where they were until the Holy Spirit came on them (Acts 1:4).

In the same way, I think those of us who are parents or walking with the next generation, we need the Holy Spirit to be with us before we can truly do this vital work of being present with the next generation. Ask for the Holy Spirit to be poured out upon you so that as you walk with the next generation, you can do this vital work, for God is with you.

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