Christian Parenting: Thirsty Sponges, Wet Cement, and Empty Jars

Christian parents, buckle up. It’s a sometimes bumpy road and a long and winding one, this journey of shaping future generations. It’s a tough row to hoe to raise godly givers not greedy takers.

Your children are like sponges, soaking up what spills out from your life into theirs. What gushes forth, what oozes out, what trickles down matters.

Your offspring are like wet cement. You are putting your imprint upon their lives. Other forces are having an effect as well. It is curing even now.

Your progeny’s hearts and minds are like empty jars waiting to be filled. The process has already begun. The fill has begun and they are receiving.

What is being offered? What is being impressed? What is being poured forth?

They are picking up what you are laying down. They are being affected by many influences. Is it worldly wisdom or the Word of God? Things die and deteriorate, but God’s Word is decidedly different. It stands forever and will never let them down.

Resolve to fill their minds on the daily with the Bible first, let it sink in, let it mark their souls, let it flow. If not, they will learn to go to other sources first, be influenced by other actors, filled with whatever comes their way.

They must be taught first to worship and acknowledge God and heed His written Word. No other foundation will suffice but Jesus Christ promised, sent, crucified, buried, risen, and returning.

Think of what might happen if you do not do your job.

Let yourself be startled now out of an anything-goes, what-does-it-really-matter complacency. The wells they see you going to over and over again will be the wells they are conditioned to go to over and over again. Grooves are being set, for better or worse. If those wells are ruinous they will be hard to overcome.

If they wander from the path of being filled by God, continuing to look to Him, there might be decades of undoing bad influences if they return at all. Even if your children resolve that certain harmful influences you’ve allowed are not what they want, it will be tough to fight that contrary tide.

God’s grace is amazing and his mercy cleansing. His love and patience with us is astounding. Kids are resilient, made by God to be raised by humans with all their failings. Made to recognize and relish redemption. Let them see the transforming power of the Word of God doing it’s work in you. Walk in repentance that does not lead to regret.

There are no guarantees our efforts will succeed. God’s decrees, promises, and purposes remain fixed. He knows what he’s doing and what he has planned. As you hike through this life, things unfold momentarily. You can’t see around the bend. Only God knows. You are called to something beyond yourself: your heart yielded and aligned to God’s.

I know you’re busy, burdened, stretched beyond your limit, but whatever God calls you to do he enables and empowers you to do. Be encouraged, you are not alone in this quest. You have many fellow-travelers. The Gospel is strong. God's power is immeasurable.

Sooner than you know, your kids will shepherd young lives of their own. Navigating rough yet rewarding terrain. Contemplating thirsty sponges, wet cement, and quickly-filling jars. May they trust Jesus with a high view of God, a humble view of themselves, an unwavering commitment to Christ’s Church, and a laser-focus on the all-sufficient Word.