God, the Father
I love to read. It’s one of my most favourite ways to relax. And so it’s no surprise that I have a lot of books. Recently I was looking through my book shelf, searching for something to read when I stumbled across a parenting book I hadn’t looked at for a number of years. As I flicked through the pages, I remembered how helpful and encouraging the book had been for me when our children were small. I’d love to share some thoughts from the book with you.
The book is called “Growing Kids with Character: Nurturing your Child’s Potential, Purpose and Passion” and it’s by Hettie Brittz. Very early in the book the author points out that while there is a vast amount of parenting advice available, there is no other parenting model for us to follow than God, the Father.
And we can seek to follow God’s example in three aspects of our parenting – presence, priorities and purpose. Let’s focus on the presence aspect.
Our role as parents will change significantly over the years as our children grow, but we will never leave the stage. Nappy changing makes way for tuckshop duty or getting kids to sport or music lessons. And later for driving lessons or waiting up for a teen who is out late. “Initially we enjoy the spotlight and play a major part in our children’s lives, but later on we play a less central role, and eventually we may even become part of the props. Nevertheless, we remain written into our children’s life scripts forever. We emulate God’s parenting presence” (Brittz).
So, let’s have a closer look at God’s parenting presence. The book of Genesis shows us a hands-on God. He literally gets His hands dirty when He makes His first son and breathes life into him (Gen 2:7) He provides Eden, a beautiful space for Adam to grow and live and enjoy. God creates Eve, and initiates and builds an intimate relationship with His children. He does this by being close and speaking to them, by being present. Like any good parent, God establishes rules (Gen 2) and enforces consequences for wrongdoing (Gen 3). Brittz summarizes by saying “Throughout it all, He gives great grace. He equips His children to live as wonderful beings and to make Him known in the world.”
As you reflect on God’s parenting example and your own, can I encourage you to ask yourself the following question – ‘Am I an affectionate and hands-on parent, willing to engage and show grace when my kids disappoint me as much as when they please me?’ And take your answer to God, your Heavenly Father, for His grace and guidance.
If you’d like to look deeper at the character and heart of God the Father, I encourage you to spend some time in Hosea 11 and John 15.