Reflections on Parenting Blindspots

Do you know where your blindspots are, particularly as a parent? Probably not to the extent that you should, that’s why they are called blindspots! Over the next few days I would like to comment on some blindspots mentioned in portions of an article posted on Josh Harris’s blog, an article written by Reb Bradley in the Virginia Home Educators magazine. 

Now we don’t homeschool our kids (excepts for about 6 weeks back in 2003), but this article still had great relevance for me, because the author touched on some common themes pertinent to all Christian parents involved in shepherding their children.

If you are honest with yourself, you will agree with the first blindspot, having self-centered dreams for your child. Men want sons, women want daughters. Fathers want boys who are athletic, or who love the outdoors, or who are able to do things that they could never do. Mothers want respectful, kind daughters who dress modestly and make wise decisions. You can fill in the blank for your own children.

The problem we often don’t see is that the dreams are our dreams for our children. Bradley reflects on the difficulty that he had with one of his boys, whom he had to ask to leave the home for a time.

You see, I had a dream for my family and it involved adult children who lived at home humbly under parental authority, and who would one day leave home to marry, after following my carefully orchestrated courtship process. But now, my son had gone and “messed up” my perfect dream. Nothing is wrong with dreaming of good things for your children, but the truth was, my dream for my son was mostly about me.

It is only natural for parents to have high hopes and dreams for their children. However, when we begin to see our children as a reflection or validation of us, we become the center of our dreams, and the children become our source of significance. When that happens in our home it affects the way we relate with our children, and subtly breaks down relationship.

What Bradley is trying to say is that if you find your source of significance in the successes of your children and your dreams for them, you are committing idolatry. We will delve into this more in a later post. Suffice it to say, parents we need to check our motives and desires for our children and bring them to the cross, where God can fashion them in a way that reflects his plans.

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