Parenting in 3-D


We go to movie theaters once or twice a year, for the special experience of watching a new movie with friends and family.

My wife and I wanted to see the new Star Trek movie, so one night after the kids were all asleep my parents took up the watch and we snuck out the door. The local theater was only showing 3-D at $13 a ticket, so we made the trip to the cheaper theater only to get there late and find the doors locked. We ended up going home and trying again another day. Call us penny-pinchers, but $26 is a lot for two people to watch a movie!

I’m learning to appreciate three dimensions in another realm of life, though.

Ed Welch, in his training for biblical counselors, says we should help each other see life in three dimensions.

What does he mean?

The 2-D view sees me and my problem. Me and the other person. Me and my desires. Me and my child.

But the 3-D view sees me, my circumstances, and God.

Whether life goes smoothly or is full of challenges, we’re often tempted to see situations two-dimensionally. Here’s what this looks like in parenting:

  • It seems like nothing I say to my child is getting through to him, and I get frustrated and give up.
  • I feel the crushing weight of responsibility to shape and mold my children, fearing that I’ll do something wrong, they won’t turn out well, and it will all be my fault.
  • I only discipline my children when their behavior starts to annoy me.
  • My ultimate goal in parenting is to raise children who are happy and well-adjusted, or to raise children who reflect well on me as a parent.

But if God is at the center of what we’re doing, parenting looks different:

  • When my words aren’t getting through, I can stop and pray with my son, or open the Bible together.
  • When I feel the crushing weight of responsibility to shape and mold my children, I can share the burden with God, ask for His strength, and trust that He will redeem even my mistakes.
  • Each day is an opportunity to point my children to God and guide them into a relationship with Him, instructing them from the Word, correcting them, and identifying how God’s grace is at work in them.
  • My ultimate goal in parenting is to raise children who know and love Jesus.

It was so encouraging to read the responses to our parenting survey (more than two thousand of you!) and hear you say, over and over, that your main goal as parents is to raise children who know, love, and serve God.

What a wonderful thing we are doing together! How important it is that we keep this perspective, with God at the center.

I can take or leave a 3-D movie, but when it comes to parenting, 3-D makes all the difference in the world.

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