By Erin Bird, 

This past Sunday, as we were setting up for the Partners Meeting potluck, the kids were running around having fun. One person commented to me, “I LOVE hearing kids play!

I agree! I love how full our Kids Creek classes are, and, as a church family, we are regularly getting to celebrate the birth of a little one. Plus, I have found tremendous joy in being a father to four wonderful kids. The Scripture makes is clear kids are a gift from the Lord. So hearing their voices and seeing them play should bring joy to our hearts.

But sometimes, kids create very different emotions in us. We can get frustrated and even angry with them at times. It almost goes without saying: Raising kids can be difficult.

A New Series on Jesus-Centered Parenting
Two weeks ago, I asked for your input on what kind of content you wanted in these News & Notes emails. One respondent asked for guidance on parenting. Because I have not talked with much depth about this topic on Sundays, I felt it appropriate to talk about here in the News & Notes.

But before I jump in, let me give a couple of caveats:

#1. I realize not all of you are at the same place in your parenting. Some of you have no children. Some of you are empty-nesters. Some of you are just beginning your parenting years, and some of you are wondering if the parenting years will ever end! But I hope no matter where you are at in life, you can still find something encouraging and helpful through this series.

#2. There are lots of parenting styles. In this series, I am not aiming to force you to adopt a particular “style,” but rather to think through how to let the Holy Spirit guide your style and make the gospel the motivation for how you lead your children.

So with that said, let’s begin our series on Jesus-centered parenting.

Up First, Kindness
I am in awe of Romans 2:4, which informs us that it isn’t God’s wrath that leads us to repentance, or God’s stern look, or God’s emotional detachment. It is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance.

So if it is God’s kindness and grace that leads a person to surrender to Jesus, then why not give your children the same? Your children will do a LOT of wrong things. (After all, they take after you! 😉) The temptation for many parents is to respond to these mistakes with a stern look, a raised voice, or even deep anger.

But oftentimes, the poor choices your children make are simply out of childishness and immaturity. We as parents need to teach our children how to make mature choices with the same kindness and grace that Christ has bestowed upon us.

Now, don’t miss understand me. Showering your kids with kindness doesn’t mean overlooking their wrong doing. After all, Jesus was full of grace AND truth. So speak truth to them, but do it with love. Let them experience kindness.

And when you kids experience your kindness, they have a better glimpse of a loving Heavenly Father, who can forgive them of their sin and cleanse them from all unrighteousness.

So just as God has shown you tremendous kindness through Jesus, may you show kindness to the kids with whom God has blessed you.