Monday, July 25, 2005

Parenting as a Vocation

I first heard a discussion about vocations during my days in Catholic high school. My religion teacher explained to the class that some people are called to the vocations of being priests or nuns. She went on to explain that God is no less active and has just as much purpose in calling other people into other roles in society. While I didn't adopt most Catholic doctrine during my plaid skirt days, I really did take this teaching to heart.

For the past couple of Sundays, my pastor has been preaching about the vocations of Christians in society. This week, he touched on the high calling of parenthood. Like the Banshee, my pastor is not yet a parent. But, again like the Banshee, my pastor views parenthood as perhaps the highest calling there is in life. Discussion of this topic continued after church when one of the older men in the congregation shared an interesting bit of trivia. He said that the Latin root of the word parent means "in place of God." This tied in nicely with pastor's message.

Certainly, parents do not replace God. That is absurd. But, they do serve as a substitute caregiver for the children that God allows them to have. In addition to caring for the child's physical safety, parents also bear a responsibility to aid in the child's intellectual development. Everyone would agree with that. But, pastor encouraged parents to take their duty of training up their children in the ways of the Lord just as seriously as they take their duty to feed their children and teach them to read. Pastor said that churches serve an important role in aiding parents in their duty to teach children about their need for the Savior and the forgiveness we enjoy in Christ. But, the emphasis should be on the word "aid." It is still the parents' responsibility to continue Christian education the other six days of the week when church is not in session.

This post is not meant to be a scolding or an admonishment to anyone. Certainly, a girl who spends her days watching DIRECTV and playing PS2 is in no position to instruct anyone as to how they should parent. Rather, this post is meant as an encouragement to those of you who are engaged in the hard work of building a Christian home. The Banshee has been the beneficiary of two parents who certainly took their duty of Christian education quite seriously. For those of you who are now in the early part of the parenting journey, I want to say this on behalf of your children. Five, ten or twenty years from now, there is nothing that will have been a more positive force in your child's life than the confidence that can only be gained through a firm knowledge that we belong to God and have been saved through Christ.