“A Call For Fearless Parenting”
Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, NC, a widely traveled evangelist, and the author of several books. His books are available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com
After some early rough spots in life, I chose to live pretty much without fear. But there came a day when a wave of fear finally did hit me, and I realized the dangers I was facing. That fear and that moment came courtesy of a seven-pound, eight-ounce bundle of helplessness that my wife held out to me twenty-three years ago. The very moment I became a parent, fear became a renewed part of my life. Would I be a good dad? Would I be able to keep him safe? Most of all, would I be able to stand firm when he wanted to go the wrong way, and I had to stand against him? That fear came twice more for me in the form of two little girls who both have a black belt in wrapping dad around their finger.
But I knew from the outset that fear was really not an option, so I did my best to lay it aside and parent absolutely fearlessly. I knew that there would be times I would have to stand up for my children and even times I would have to stand against them. Both of those things are part and parcel of Christian parenting or even just sensible parenting.
I thought of that recently with a couple of things that made me shake my head and wonder whether kids are going to make it in our world. The first came courtesy of a trans public school teacher in Canada, Kayla Lemieux, who has garnered global attention after photos and video appeared on social media showing the teacher’s eye-popping fake breasts. This teacher of children is being anything but appropriate in appearance around those children. Under pressure from fuming parents, though, the Halton District School Board (HDSB) issued a statement to explain that its hands are tied due to the province’s Human Rights Code. (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11243855/School-board-implement-dress-code-force-trans-teacher-ditch-prosthetic-breasts.html)
The second came courtesy of a scene at a pizza buffet. “Junior,” maybe ten years old or so, was loading up on dessert pizza. His mother said, “That’s enough.” He looked at her, looked back at the buffet, and put another slice on his plate. She said, “I said, that’s enough!” He looked at her with defiance, looked back at the buffet, and put another slice on his plate. Growing louder, she said, “Don’t take any more! I said that’s enough!” He glared at her, grabbed yet another slice, and said, “Now it’s enough!” To which she meekly replied, “Okay,” and followed him as he waddled to the booth.
I am not too optimistic about the future of the world’s children. But there is a time-honored, built in hope.
Ephesians 6:1-4 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
In summary form, those verses teach that parents are to be in charge, children are to be expected to both obey and even to honor their parents, that fathers in particular are not to be so severe and harsh that they turn their children into angry, hateful adults, and that parents in general and fathers in particular are to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The word nurture is from the word paideia, and it means the full training, the education, the discipline, and even the chastisement. Admonition is from the word nouthesia, and it means the counsel, the guidance. That is a tall task, especially in today’s world, and it will call for fearless parenting. As I said above, parents today will need to be fearless enough both to stand up for, and to stand up to, their children. The devil would love to have them and to have them early, so God gave them parents to keep that from happening.
As to standing up to your children, remember the case of Eli the priest and his two sons in 1 Samuel 3. God determined to destroy Eli because “his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.” He spoke to them, oh so softly, but he did not restrain them, and he and they were ruined on that account. Fearless parents must be willing to say things like, “You are not hanging out with those troublemakers, you are not going out of the house dressed like that, you are not going to that party, you are not listening to that filthy music,” and a host of others things that will make those kids scream, “I hate you!” Trust me, one day they will come back and say “thank you” for actually being a fearless parent.
As to standing up for your children, that one is going to take an extreme level of fearlessness in this age. I know the context is the Tribulation Period, but it really feels like Revelation 12:12 is already part of our day, “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” I have never seen such filth pursuing our children and such hatred directed at parents who stand against it.
Parents, I know the currently wildly misnamed justice system sent out a memo likening parents who speak up at school board meetings to domestic terrorists. But speak up. Be fearless. I know that parents who say, “My kids are not going to any drag show anywhere, ever,” are called vile names like bigots and transphobes, but do not back down an inch. I know that parents who have a problem with having men in the locker room while girls undress are made to feel weird and pressured into silence, but don’t back down. I know that parents of girls who say, “It’s not fair to make my girl compete against biological males” are ripped to shreds on social media, but so be it. I know that parents who say, “Do not ever teach my kid that he is bad just because of the color of his skin” are called racists by actual racists, but stand firm anyway. If we do not stand up for our children, who will?
You have a lot of power, parents. Get together in your neighborhoods and talk about it. Stand together, pray together, vote together, back each other up. The devil will be fearless in coming for your kids; you need to be equally fearless in standing against him.
Pastor Wagner can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and his books are available by clicking the “Store” link above.
Feature photo by Pastor Bo Wagner