The New York Times recently published a significant article on “The Relentlessness of Modern Parenting.” The piece describes the increasing amount of time and money American parents spend on their children. Parents are expected to supervise and entertain their children at all times. From an early age, schedules fill up with sports, music lessons, and private preschools. All of this is apparently essential to rear successful children, getting them into the right college and a lucrative career.
This practice of parenting is recent and uniquely American. The article ascribes it to “a view of child rearing as an individual, not societal task.” More and more is expected of parents, but they’re increasingly isolated and exhausted.
The local church is conspicuously absent from the article’s discussion and anecdotes. By leaving the church, many parents have become disconnected from an institution which used to assist them. Local churches are built to share the burden of rearing children, offering programs to teach children and connect parents. In the church, parents would also be reminded of a deeper vision for “successful” children—children who love and fear the Lord.
God, we ask that you would bring more and more young American families back to the church. We ask that you would make the church a place of joy, love, and spiritual formation for children in our darkening culture. May the church also be a tremendous help to parents, connecting them to a community beyond themselves which shares their burdens and encourages them. May we focus our families on what is most important: the Lord Jesus Christ and the Great Commission he has called us to pursue.
Dr. Robert Jeffress is a best-selling author of 25 books, a nationally and internationally syndicated TV and radio host and the senior pastor of First Baptist Dallas, one of the largest and most influential churches in America. Pathway to Victory, Dr. Jeffress’ broadcast ministry, airs daily nationwide on more than 900 radio stations and is broadcast live to 195 countries. His latest book, Choosing the Extraordinary Life: God’s 7 Secrets for Success and Significance, is available in bookstores everywhere. He is an evangelical adviser to the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.