Humility is fleeting. It’s like the pastor given a special button in recognition for being humble. When he wore it the next Sunday, the deacons took it away. I can see this dilemma in myself. I strive to be humble but as soon as I think I have achieved it, I’m tempted to be proud of that accomplishment.
When we are proud we think we can handle something without help. It’s often at this time that we are most likely to fail. That’s exactly what Proverbs 16:18 tells us; “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” (NASB)
How does this apply to parenting? One of the biggest problems we create for ourselves is to think we can handle childrearing without help. I speak from experience.
As an expert in child development, I was good at getting my children to obey. This resulted in two grave errors. I did not go to God for His help, nor did I look closely at other parents to find good role models. I didn’t think I needed to, and that was arrogant.
When we are ready to learn, God is ready to teach us. The Bible says so in James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (NASB) The key word in this verse is ‘lack’. If you don’t know that you lack wisdom, you won’t ask. When you’re too confident to pray, you’re in trouble.
Here are three tips to help you avoid arrogance in parenting.
- Don’t compare your parenting skills with others. If you compare yourself to others, you will find plenty of parents doing stupid stuff, and you’ll feel superior. Compare instead to the perfect parent, Jesus Christ. “But He wasn’t a parent!” you say. True, but His love, patience, and wisdom were evident in the way He trained His disciples. When I look at Jesus’s perfect social interaction, I see myself in great need of His help.
- Acknowledge that your children will have trials, sin, and failure, regardless of how much you try to insulate them. Since you can’t protect them from every bad situation, you must realize they are in God’s hands. You simply can’t do all the protecting that needs to be done. Turn to God in prayer for your children.
- Realize that in God’s eyes, you aren’t better than your kids. Older, temporarily wiser, and in a position of authority, it’s true. But your value to God is no higher or lower than your child’s. God wants to move both your child and you into a closer relationship with Him. You are a sinner, and so is your child. Your role to train and teach is temporary. Be humble as you guide them.
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.
Proverbs 16:18 NASB
How do you maintain both the humility and the God-ordained confidence you need in order to parent well?
Dr. James D. Dempsey serves as Pastor to Families at Anderson Mill Baptist Church in Austin, and before that was Children’s Minister at First Baptist Church of Keller. He and Gail have three grown daughters and three grandchildren. They lead seminars for the National Center For Biblical Parenting and provide training for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. Jim desires to help parents avoid the deceptions that affected his own parenting. His Bible study, doctorate in education, and 20 plus years of teaching give him insight into God’s plan for parenting. He has just published his first book, Parenting Unchained-Overcoming the Ten Deceptions that Shackle Christian Parents through the National Center for Biblical Parenting. It’s available at Amazon and at his website, D6Culture.com. Jim and Gail love movies and Mexican food.