Raising hell and raising angels

Published 9:11 pm Thursday, March 21, 2019

By Nathan Decker

You know your children are growing up when they stop asking where they came from and refuse to tell you where they’re going.”

– P. O’Brien

I made my mama cry. I did it often. I was a selfish kid who threw tantrums, manipulated my parents, broke curfew and drove nails into my parent’s hearts with my evil words. One night, I remember walking in to see my mom sitting at the table, her Bible in front of her, tears streaming down her face. When I asked her what she had been doing, she told me she was praying for me. She was praying for my future. She was asking God to guide me.

These days, I’m the one crying. My kids are awesome, but they’re not angels. I find I am the one sitting at the table, reading my Bible, praying. I pray asking God to forgive me when I lose patience and my temper flares up. I pray asking God to help me be a good example. I pray for my children’s future. I ask God to guide them.

Every generation has to figure out how to be a parent. My generation remembers belts and switches. A lot of parents today complain that adults want to be their kids’ best friend instead of their mom or dad. Like a lot of things, we can go too far in either direction. It is easy to be too strict or too relaxed. What all parents should be trying to do is teach boundaries, responsibility, and raise children to be adults.

We send our kids to school so they will learn the basic knowledge we all share. We give our kids chores so they will understand responsibility and work. We pay our kids for their work so that they can learn how to use, lose, save and spend money. We get them involved in team sports to learn what it means to win, to lose and to work together. All this helps develop our children emotionally, educationally and physically to become adults we feel we can live with in society.

But what about my mama’s prayer? Why did she invest time and effort into praying for me? My mom knew what we all know deep inside. To be a whole human being means also developing spiritually. We take our kids to church to learn how to love God and challenge them to love beyond self. We take our kids to church to experience a multi-generational view of birth, life, death, and resurrection. We take our kids to church so that they hear of God’s love for them, and how that love changes the gift of life God has given them. We take our kids to church to meet Jesus.

My mama prayed for me. I pray for my children. We all raise a little hell; we are all a little lower than the angels. We all need guidance from God in our lives to help us understand what it is to be the image of God — a human being. Pray for your children. Help them develop their faith. Let the little children come to experience God. After all, it’s what Jesus would do.

Train children in the way they should go; when they grow old, they won’t depart from it.”

– Proverbs 22:6