Day 15 – Shaped by Parents
Every good Jewish home would live out Deuteronomy 6:6-7. “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
As parents we have a huge role in shaping our children. Of course, our children have their own personalities. And even when we try our best, we do our parenting job imperfectly.
But when our children are struggling with shame, we can empathize with them: “It’s okay. You’re normal. That happened to me too. I understand what that is like.”
As parents we can give our children a sense of meaning and purpose in life. Help them sort out the challenges they face. Remind them that they are loved, accepted, special, significant, safe.
I imagine Joseph and Mary telling Jesus over and over about the uniqueness of his conception and birth. I imagine they told and retold the stories about his cousin John the Baptist and uncle Zechariah and aunt Elizabeth and the shepherds and Simeon and Anna and the Wise Men.
Through these repeated stories, Jesus would have internalized a sense of being special and significant. Give him a sense of meaning and purpose in life from his childhood.
Birth stories, childhood stories, family stories, strong memories repeated by us as parents can shape our children letting them know that they’re special.
How often I heard the story told by my parents that I almost died as an infant. By age 1½ I already had chicken pox, thrush, whopping cough, and the measles. For six weeks I had bronchitis and I was dehydrating. I ended up in the hospital with an IV at 1½ years of age. My parents expected me to die.
But through their believing prayer, God miraculously healed me!
The message that came to me through my parents as I heard this story repeated as I grew up: “Dave, God’s hand is upon your life!”
Joseph and Mary were not perfect parents. But they were the parents God chose to parent Jesus. And I suggest they helped shape, among other qualities, his resilience to shame.
Today: Recall family stories and how God used them to shape you.
~ Pastor Dave