"Train up a child in the way he should go;

even when he is old he will not depart from it."

-- Proverbs 22:6

You may be reading this and thinking "I don't have kids, so this doesn't apply to me" and you'd be partially right, but also partially wrong. Keep reading.

Parenting is a massive responsibility that many people find themselves with. It is, quite literally, the act of caring for, protecting, teaching, training, looking out for, shaping and influencing another human being. It is hard work, for sure. It can be stressful. It can be scary. It can be overwhelming at times. None of that means that you are are a bad parent. Even Mary & Joseph got scared and frustrated with Jesus, and He was perfect.

Parenting is also an extreme blessing. "Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD the fruit of the womb a reward." -- Psalm 127:3 We see countless times throughout the Bible where people beg God for children, and His giving them children is considered a fantastic gift.

I can say from personal experience, my children are some of the greatest joys in my life. They challenge me. They inspire me. They bring me happiness.

These two can, and do coexist: the stressful responsibility and the inspirational joy.

But, as it says in Proverbs, as parents we have a responsibility to teach and train our children in the way they should go. It is our job and obligation to model for them what a life of following Christ looks like, what it means to pray, to study the Bible, to forgive, to have faith, and not just at church, but every day, in every situation.

This is where even you non-parents can be involved. You are surrounded by children, at church, in your neighborhood, in your families, in community. While you are not their parent, you can assist in helping to teach and train them in the same way, by modeling a Christ centered life.

Finally, let me just say that no parent is perfect. Everyone fails at times, some more than others. If you feel that you are failing or don't know what to do, don't give up. Seek God (our Heavenly Father)'s guidance, and seek help. Parenting is vital, hard and rewarding, but it doesn't have to be done alone.
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