Parenting teaches us so much. For example, parenting can fall under a Law-filled parenting style or a Grace-filled parenting style. In this article, we’ll contrast these two styles as well as consider the parenting style of our Heavenly Father.
Letter of the Law Parenting
In short, this is like Authoritarian parenting. Many of us are aware of how this parenting style sets standards high and expect a great deal of their children. While they don’t offer guidance in how to reach those standards… which are often times impossible. And they’re not very nurturing in the upbringing of their children. Rather, it’s about control.
It’s like they have their own law, whether spoken or not, which they expect their children to follow. And never mind if their children try to please that parent. Regardless, the parent isn’t getting their way so it’s too late.
Sadly, this mentality carries over into the child’s adulthood as the roles of parent and child naturally shift. And this is terribly sad because there’s so much hurt that comes from this.
On the other hand, there is the Spirit of the Law parenting style. And this is beautiful grace-filled parenting; reflective of our Heavenly Father’s parenting style.
As grace-filled parents, we nurture our children and gently lead them. While intentional disobedience is corrected, we don’t set standards too high for our children. Not only do we articulate what the goal is, we help our children reach it.
Hope Parenting vs. Wish Parenting
Do you know that hoping and wishing are opposite of each other? Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines hope as: “A desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable. Hope differs from wish and desire in this, that it implies some expectation of obtaining the good desired, or the possibility of possessing it. Hope therefore always gives pleasure or joy; whereas wish and desire may produce or be accompanied with pain and anxiety.”
Grace-filled parenting offers hope for parents in that their love and the seeds they plant desire good for their children. Furthermore, it gives parents the belief that the Fruits of the Spirit may grow in their children.
Additionally, it gives children hope in that they may obtain goals under their parent’s nurture, care, and guidance.
As a result, pleasure and joy fills both parents and children. In effect, real relationships of value flourish in the soil of love.
How God Models Grace-Filled Parenting to Us
Our Heavenly Father’s love for us is so vast. So, this isn’t an exhaustive list, but here are some thoughts to consider:
- Even when we were yet sinners, He loved us.
- He corrects those He loves.
- Through our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, He guides us.
- He cares for us.
- Provision comes from Him.
- He looks at the heart.
- It matters to Him that we try to follow His ways.
- We find our hope in Him through the Holy Spirit.
It’s Never Too Late to Change Your Style
If you find that you’re a Letter of the Law parent, it’s never too late to change. All things considered, it’s a heart change that’s in need. And when you go the Lord about it, He’ll gently parent you in extending grace-filled parenting.
I’m so thankful that God models grace-filled parenting for us. And that we can choose to walk in His example as we parent our children. Especially because our children first experience love, care, provision, and relationship through us. For our ultimate end goal is to point them the Him.
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