Seriously?

Carla: Geez Caryn. Talk about a buzz kill. What happened there? 3 comments? 3? I mean, I didn’t think your post was bad per se, but 3?

Well I’ll just have to see if I can salvage something here. Thankfully, one of my FB friends is currently at a Christian conference of some sort and posted a picture that has my dander up. It’s a sign announcing a seminar called, “How to Awaken Spiritual Parenting in Today’s Families.” If you’ve been hanging around this blog long enough, you can probably guess why I’m irked by this. If you are just joining us, here’s a short explanation:

The title of this seminar implies that “today’s parents” are asleep, or at least not overly involved in/interested in/capable of “spiritual parenting.” Really? Really? Which parents are those? It’s none of the women and men here, I can tell you that. Because the parents who comment here are pretty awake, pretty involved, pretty capable. In fact, I’d be willing to guess that most of us are so sick of hearing about how not awake and not spiritual we are as parents that we’d like to run our little selves down to wherever this conference is and have a word with the presenters.

Now I have no idea what this seminar is about. For all I know it was wonderful and insightful and all things helpful. But that title is just the kind of thing that the Revolution is bent on overthrowing. The seminar was aimed at church leaders–children’s pastors, senior pastors, etc. And to me, that almost makes it worse than if it had been aimed at parents. Because the last thing we need is more sermons on how we don’t take parenting seriously enough or how we are missing the mark when it comes to passing our faith on to our children. The last thing we need is more messages about how what we’ve been doing is insufficient.

More and more, I find seminars–and books and conferences and magazine articles–like these are aimed at straw parents. They hit at a perception of a problem that I don’t think really exists. It makes good sales copy to say things like “How to Awaken Spiritual Parenting.” It creates a sense of crisis, urgency, and fear. And that sells.

But are there really so many sleeping parents out there that there needs to be a seminar about them? Aren’t most of the families sitting in churches each week there because they are truly trying their best? Adding more guilt and fear about the ways they are failing isn’t the way to “awaken” them. It’s a way to add more pressure and more expectations to their lives. Support, encouragement, affirmation, ideas, HOPE–that’s what parents need.

Caryn: Enough about the 3 comments. I guess no one likes to hear about a happy mom (I know I never do!). Glad you chose this topic to awaken our spiritual readers.

Seriously, though,  I’m still trying to figure out what “spiritual parenting” even means. Sounds like something God does—not us. I’m a fan of human parenting myself.

That said, you’re probably right in guessing that they’re talking about those lazy parents who aren’t “being intentional” about passing the faith on to their kids, hence all the back-talking, all the hell that’s breaking out in the schools, and all the Democrats who keep getting elected.

What always makes me nervous about stuff like this is that I’m guessing that I’d be one of the parents they look at as asleep. I mean, my kids have been baptized (which may or may not be seen as a good thing), go to church, Sunday school, Christian school, extra-church-ricular activities, and every election season at least one of them is out canvassing the neighborhood with my husband spreading Republican cheer. So you’d think we’d be good!

But, alas, I’m terrible about doing family devotions (read: we never do them). Are you ready for this? Half the time I don’t even THINK of praying with my kids when I put him to bed. I was going to say that at least we always say grace before dinner, but you know what? We just had pizza and we totally didn’t pray.

Oh, boy.

But as you said: this doesn’t mean I’m not awake spiritually with my kids. And it doesn’t mean I need guilt about it. Or even more structure for that matter.

We talk about God a lot. Just not formulaically. I think my kids are going to learn to follow Jesus and love him like mad not because we did X,Y, and Z every day or because I came up with really fun, crazy-campy activities to demonstrate a Bible verse (not knocking this if it works for your family!).

They’re going to want Jesus as a part of their lives because of what they’ve seen him do in mine. So I talk about that. I let my kids see what a mess I am, and talk about how God has shown up in unexpected ways. I let them that it’s by his grace alone that I am able to make it through a day in the house with them without knocking heads into walls (I don’t really let them know this part….).

I want them to see me grapple and question and wonder and be amazed at what it is to believe in Jesus. Because frankly, I don’t want them just to be passed the faith, I want them to believe it on their own, to embrace it, to own it, to die for it, really.

So now I’m about to go down a road about how much crazy I am about  Jesus (Carla, remember when I was NOT like this? What happened to me?!?!?), which I’ll spare you all right now. (But seriously, how great is he?)

So yeah. Some of the most awake Christian parents I know are not the ones in seminars and in classes, but the ones in the trenches. Down and dirty with their Jesus.

Carla: So now the comment count is up to 5, but one of them is from me, so we’re at 4. Granted, they are 4 really great comments, but still.

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