Predicting the future of… parenthood; bearers without basis

I can’t help but wonder if the future of parenthood is looking grim.

Should parents be able to choose their child’s school? Should they be able to choose whether their child gets Ethics Education or Religious Education, or neither? Should they be able to choose what they teach their own kids about the world and religion?

I’m assuming you’d say “yes” to all these…? Ok… now try and answer the question, “Why?” Why should parents, rather than say, the Education Dept., or some other independent – though socially acceptable – group? On what grounds, or on what basis do you think a couple who has sex and conceives a child should have ANY say in that child’s life? Defend that opinion.

[Seriously… try and come up with an answer before you read on.]

One of the pressing issues that’s involved here is marriage. See, a large part of the reason we think parents SHOULD have these responsibilities is because we’re coming out of an age where marriage is still partly considered a social commitment between a man and a woman for the good of society and for the raising of children (however, we’re moving into an age where marriage is considered a social experience while it seems good for the couple). The idea parents would take responsibility for their children flows out of a prior commitment to one-another. That commitment is the “norm” which suggests all parents (married or not) SHOULD take responsibility for their offspring.

But if marriage is not a commitment which our society upholds, and if marriage is no longer for the proper raising of children, then that “basis” is gone.

But, to answer the question…

As far as I can tell, apart from the temporary laws of the State, and the ever delicate “consequentialist” argument, the only basis for parental responsibility is God’s Word. God appoints people to roles. God “gives” children to their parents, in the same way God then “gives” those children (when they’re older) to others in marriage.

And because of this, on judgement day, many men will stand accused for failing in their fatherly responsibility toward the children they didn’t even know they had because they slept around and saw no basis for why they should be held responsible. And many women will stand accused because they terminated the child they were given responsibility to care for.

But… there is always Jesus, who is not only our brother, but he’s our better-Adam. He’s humanity’s new father. He acts as our true parent and takes responsibility for our actions, our murders and our failures. He bears the punishment we deserve, like a parent paying for their children’s mistake. He offers forgiveness to his children.

Why you should beware mixing past-focused conversations with future-focused conversations

These two conversations are very different. They have different styles, different data, different “feel”, different implications. Swapping between them too quickly can falsely carry elements from one into the other.
Past-focused conversations are mostly objective (what actually happened; numbers, times, data). You can debate the subjective elements (was it good/bad/helpful?) from the data. You can also do real analysis; why did this happen? What were the chain if events that lead to this mistake?
Future-focused conversations are mostly subjective (what will we do? What will happen when…?). But you can be clearer on the desired outcomes (we all agree we want A, B & C). And you can plan out the processes.
So be clear, say, “Let’s talk about what happened last time…” And hold back all your “next time…” thoughts.
Later say, “ok, let’s change gears and talk about what we want in the future. Is there anything from what we looked atom the past we want to keep/change?”
Doing both at the same time is usually confusing and unproductive.

100 years from now

Rather than thinking about what difference you could make tomorrow, or even this year, ask yourself the question “what can I do that will make the most difference in 100 years?”
Why? 100 years is a good timespan because you’ll be dead by then. Any difference you could make would need to outlive you.
Dads and mums, that’s why parenting is worth your time and energy and sweat and tears. Strong families today are easily traced back to strong parents 100 years ago; both relationally and financially and spiritually.
Those in pastoral ministry; this is a good place to set your vision. What can you (under God) spend 40 years doing that will still make a difference in 100 years?
Of course, this is why we preach the gospel, not only does it create gospel workers, it also establishes souls in Christ for eternity.