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ParentEd.: Hopes and Fears of Parenting

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

–Isaiah 41:10


When addressing the hopes and fears of being a parent today, the mind can go in countless different directions. We tend to focus on the vast scope of everything that could go wrong, and unfortunately, almost every parent’s mind dwells in those dark places. Especially when the child is out of the parent’s sight, such as when he or she is at school or with friends. 


Defining Success 

Parents want their kids to be safe— physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. That is why a lot of parents seek out independent and faith-based education. They want to raise their children in a Christ-centered environment, and they want whichever school that their children attend to support those same principles and morals in a continuum of development for their children. This can look different according to each child and family, but the desire for each child to be known, loved, safe, and successful is a common baseline. Parents want their children’s happiness to be paramount, and the overriding hope is that their children would also be successful in any endeavors. Parents invest 100% into their child, and feel (justifiably so) that the school, teacher, or coach should equal that investment into the children. 

However, the definition of success in life may look different from one parent to another. Sometimes the parent’s explanation of the objectives of success is specific, but oftentimes, it isn’t. The goal may simply be that the child will be more successful than the parent is. Parents want their children to have many great opportunities, and go out into the world and contribute something, live on their own, and lead a happy life. 


Flash Points of Growth

In that continuum of development, as children start to grow older, play dates happen under the parent’s supervision, and the children don't go too far out of sight.  Parents take them to school, pick them up, and continue on until they reach the next milestone. As children keep maturing, bigger flash points of growth add to their childhood experiences such as field trips, longer school days at practice, parties, and other social events. That is where some of the fear begins percolating in parents due to a more significant lack of control as their child grows which creates a level of anxiety. Parents begin to fear what might happen to their child in every possible scenario. These fears can escalate to the point of worrying that someone else is going to make some decisions that may not consider their child or set them up for disappointment. Beyond that, another fear that creeps into parents’ minds is that they are personally going to be judged by other parents, teachers, and administrators based on the success of their own children.

Because of all of this, there is sometimes a growing landscape of fear that is being unknowingly scaffolded by parents. But for Christian parents, it is important to remember that God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear or failure. That is what we need to encourage in our children— the ability to overcome life’s challenges. One way that this could be modeled by parents is to be so intentional about their own walk with the Lord, that they really stabilize their child’s foundation and who they are in Christ. This type of modeling is integral to a child’s spiritual development. This would include listening to what God is calling a parent to do so that the child can personally witness what it looks like to follow that call, even when it is doing the things that are especially hard. 


Faith Through Perseverance  

The lack of control that parents feel in the hopes they have for their children to be as they grow older— as well as the anxiety that it sometimes creates— is completely normal. But God never promises us control. We want it, but it’s never guaranteed. As much as we long to protect our child against harm or disappointment, that isn’t in the toolbox that God gives us. We must remember that God is the one in control.

When you rob your child of a struggle by trying to rescue them, the end result is often counterproductive. We want our children to summit mountains, but we don’t want to see them stumble while they learn how to climb. God says our faith is made perfect through perseverance, and perseverance means going through the hard stuff and coming out the other side. As parents, we do have to teach our children that they will come out the other side, but it is hard to do that if we protect them from every failure or fall. 


A Common Lie

A common lie that is perpetuated in a lot of current parenting literature is that self-esteem can be promoted by positive reinforcement, which in turn promotes academics and other spheres of life. However, the self-esteem truth according to research is that tackling and eventually mastering developmentally appropriate challenges is what really improves self-esteem. Not just being told how great you are, but demonstrating how great you are. Persevering is what builds self-esteem and achieving academic success builds self-esteem. It isn’t the reverse. It is the learning, the overcoming, the practice, and the mistakes. For example, Michael Jordan did not make his high school team. But the struggle of striving for success despite his failures built him into what he is today. He was built by the struggle. 


Dig Deeper Into His Truth

Parenting is hard, but parenting in this day and age is especially difficult. Because of that, parents are always going to feel overwhelmed if they are not rooted in biblical Truth. This is why it is crucial to be rooted in a local church so that you can find a Bible study and accountability partners. These are all ways to feed yourself and be immersed in the Word so that you feel a sense of security when issues or struggles come up so that you are not completely overcome by them when they do occur. 


It is difficult to entrust our children to God. It is difficult to even imagine that He loves them more than we do. But the fact remains that He does, and we have to trust that. If we dig deeper into His word, and deeper into our faith and faith-based communities, we can see that He proves himself and His love for us and our children over and over again. 

Mrs. Tawanna Rusk is the associate head of school for Mount Paran Christian School. She enjoyed a twenty-year career in Cobb County Schools before joining the MPCS family as lower school head, and subsequently assistant head of school, head of high school, and head of upper school. Mrs. Rusk earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Special Education from Georgia College, a Masters degree in Educational Leadership from Kennesaw State University, and a Specialist degree in Educational Leadership from Kennesaw State University. 
To learn more about parent fellowship and bible study groups at Mount Paran Christian School  click here. 


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Providing academic excellence in a Christ-centered environment, Mount Paran Christian School unites with home and church to prepare servant-leaders to honor God, love others, and walk in Truth.