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The Parenting Marathon

September 10, 2012
By Dean Wagenaar
Photo courtesy of

The new school year has begun. The marathoners - because the Christian race is not a sprint - have heard the gun and are establishing their stride concerned about the distance, the conditions, the teammates and opponents, all factors in the race. But let’s pause before we pace too far because we need some coaching — sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

As parents one of our tasks is to see clearly so that we can pass on a multigenerational understanding to our children. Here is the challenge I want you to see. I suspect most of us want to prepare the road for our children. We want to fill in every pothole, resurface the bumps and cracks, erect signs, even rubber bumpers, to alleviate any obstacle(s) so no bumps, bruises, or scratches occur.

Do you realize how unrealistic this paradigm is and what this does to our kids? Parents end up living their children’s lives and maturity and responsibility are stunted, if not crushed.

Instead of doctoring the road, we need to prepare our children to deal with what is going to happen on the road and journey that stretches into the future. The path will have obstacles, challenges, diversions. Guess what? That path sounds exactly like life. In fact, IT IS LIFE. 

Parents, we need to prepare our children to face adversity. If we do not, we do them a tremendous disservice in the race of life. We need to quit giving allowances and start instituting commissions. Is this training task easy? Sorry, we don’t raise kids at Staples. No, it is not easy. Not in a broken, sinful world. 

The task is hard because Christian parenting is a difficult, time-consuming marathon. So instead of helicoptoring, give Godly advice, direct with Biblical wisdom, pray with fervor, but realize that small failures are not final if lessons are learned and corrections are made. 

Who knows, but, I think, what may be learned and accomplished will enable our kids to prepare to overcome the next obstacles in the race and, therefore, learn to be young pilgrims on this earthly journey who overcome adversity and place a robust, sincere faith in the truth promises of God.   

In Christ,
Dean Wagenaar