We are *enjoying* a lecture series by Paul Tripp on parenting in our Sunday School class…and I use the word enjoying loosely.  We are learning a lot, and getting kidney punches each week as we see again and again where we are failing as parents.   It has been a GREAT DVD series thus far, and is reorienting my master plan when it comes to my children.

Listening to Tripp talk about getting to our child’s heart, and not simply dealing with the outward behavior, I am reminded again and again…parenting is H-A-R-D!  It takes T-I-M-E.  It’s not a quick fix on the run.  Good parenting takes deliberate effort.  And did I mention it takes time.

Life is so busy these days and everything seems urgent…especially checking my latest Facebook updates.  But when 2 kids are squabbling, or someone is throwing a temper tantrum, my full attention is needed.

To handle those situations the right way, I cannot be in a hurry.  I cannot seek to manufacture in them the appropriate outward response.  Well, I could, but that doesn’t help with the longterm goal of raising my children to be godly adults.

So, it seems to me, I either pay now or pay later.  I either decide now to take the necessary TIME to talk with my kids, address their hearts, help them see their heart motive behind their poor behavior, and not solely seek outward conformity, OR, I can take the time and heartache later when they are rebellious teens and young adults who have never come to understand their own sinful hearts, and are tired of outward obedience.

I can invest the time now to enjoy a good relationship with my children later.

I can sow into my children’s lives and hearts now so that I can reap the joy of seeing them grow into godly adults, and enjoy a relationship with them that is not only mother-daughter/son, but that they also become my brothers and sisters in Christ.

In our give-it-to-me-now culture, it can be hard to remember that the blessings of good parenting are worth the effort, but are not immediate.

We may have lost something as our economy shifted away from the family farm. Scripture has so many references to agricultural life that most of us cannot relate to first hand.  A farmed plants his crop.  Waters the field, waits patiently, and prays like crazy.  All along, trusting that underneath the soil, roots are being established, and that one day, in due time, the plant will yield its crop.

Our children are those plants.  We water them with biblical truth and biblical parenting, we wait on the Holy Spirit to do a work in our children and we pray like crazy that God would draw them to Himself, all along trusting that their little roots are digging down deep, and that one day they will be strong, godly young men and women who stand firm on the Word of Christ.

Parenting is exhausting.  But just look around at the godly young people you see in your church, and the wonderful, respectful relationship they have with their parents.  I desire that blessing.  I desire that outcome.  By God’s grace, I will sow into their little lives day after day, and by His grace, I will reap great joy in my relationship with those precious children well into their adulthood.