Parenting as Stewardship

Parenting as Stewardship

Recently I’ve been contemplating what it means to approach parenting in humble recognition that my child belongs to God—not me.

It is not uncommon to hear the idea of “stewardship” discussed at church when it comes to how we handle money, time, or even relationships. This concept rightfully recognizes that primary ownership of our finances, schedules, and friendships belongs to God, not us. Rather, we are to use what we have been given in a way that honors the Giver and Owner of all good gifts (Matthew 25:14-30).

Similarly, as parents who follow Jesus, we acknowledge that our children belong first and foremost to God. We see this beautifully illustrated a few times a year at Fellowship Denver as parents gather on stage to dedicate their children to God, promising to love them, pray for them, and teach them God’s ways.

For my husband and me, it has been over seven years since we dedicated our daughter to the Lord. In the intervening years, I’ve found it so easy to forget to parent as a steward. Too often, I parent from selfishness or out of an effort to please my child.

I need to be reminded that my child doesn’t belong to me. I need to acknowledge that the privilege of parenting hasn’t been given to me in order to fulfill my selfish desires, but to honor the Lord, the creator and sustainer of my child’s life.

Most recently, this has meant continuing to read a brief portion of the Bible with my daughter over breakfast, even if this habit doesn’t get rave reviews right now. It has meant re-thinking how I spend my time with her, seeing her not as an interruption to my to-do list but as a big part of God’s purpose for my days.

As we consider together what it looks like to steward well our time with our children, perhaps the following reflection questions can help guide our thoughts, conversations, and decisions:

            -Who am I primarily trying to please as I interact with my child? Myself? My child? Jesus?

            -What is one thing that I believe God has for my child to do or learn about this fall? How could I help facilitate this?

            -What is one thing in our family’s life that might need to be stopped, even if it’s just for a season?

            -How does acknowledging my role as a steward in my child’s life free me from unnecessary burdens?

- Courtney