Christian parenting goals 101

The primary goal for me and my husband as parents, has never been to be our children's buddy, or to win their love. We've never intended to be their best friend or someone they admired.

We greatly desire for our children to spend their lives making much of Jesus, rather than making much of us...or themselves. We've always wanted to give our sons what neither of us ever had—parents who love the Lord Jesus Christ with all their hearts, souls, minds and strengths, and love others as themselves (Matt 22:37-40).

We can't think of any greater gift or legacy a parent can pass on to their children, except the love of God (Rom 13:8) and the Gospel of Jesus Christ which alone has the power to save and perfectly reveal the righteousness of God (Rom 1:16-17).

"And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
Colossians 1:9-14
The sad reality of Christian parenting today is we've been ensnared by the same pitfalls of unbelieving parents. We foolishly believe that if we become our children's buddy and pal around with them; behave as immaturely as they do by laughing at what they laugh at, being entertained by what they're entertained by and making sure they think we're  fun, cool and always on their side. We think by conducting ourselves for the approval of our children, we will somehow win our children's love and respect. This is the work of futility and against God's command for parents (Prov 6:20-23, 13:24, 22:15, 1 Cor 13:11, 14:20).

Similar to our relationship with God, while we should pursue peaceful and "friendly" relations with our children, we need to be careful not to blur the boundaries of the authority God gave us over them; thereby demonstrating God's love, protection and grace. If you don't maintain God's order in your family, you will surely breed chaos.

Our children ought to have a healthy fear of us, as well as respectfully love us, not because we're so much fun, or so perfect, but because they witness God's Word manifested in our lives as they daily see us yielding our personal desires to bring glory to God and to consider others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3).

Diligently teach your children the Word of God (Deut 6:6-9). Model it in the nature of Christ: with humility, gentleness, honesty, wisdom and grace. Admit your failures and sins, and apologize more often (Eph 6:4, Col 3:21).  Encourage your children in the things of God by rejoicing more when you see the Holy Spirit's work in them, than when you see them accomplish worldly goals (3 John 1:4).

Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.
~Philippians 2:17
As parents we're willing to sacrifice many things for our children. Yet the greatest thing we need to sacrifice is our pride and pretense of perfection; something very few of us do.