Pastoral Series: Parenting – May 23rd

Babies should come with a health warning; 

”Do not unwrap until you have read the instructionParentings and done the training course” – but they don’t. 

They arrive in your life with about 9 months warning, but however well prepared you are it’s always a shock.
No instruction manual, no training, no fact sheet, no helpful little stickers that saying “food in here”, “if smelly clean here”. It gets worse when they can walk and talk. They should come with a little set of indicator lights declaring “today I need to be entertained”, “cuddled”, “told off” or “taken shopping”.
What has your experience been of being parented/being a parent. Take 2 mins to look at the “word cloud” below then tell you story using 5 words (either from the word cloud or use your own).

Parenting word cloud:

Parenting Cloud Wordienet 
Created with

How does God parent us?

Read the story of the prodigal son Luke 15:11-32
  • The young son is basically saying, “Dad I wish you were dead, so I could have what you owe me”.
  • How might you respond if your son/daughter behaved like this?
  • What exceptional qualities does the Father exhibit?


Top tips, here are three of mine:
·         “Discipline your kids eye ball to eye ball.” Get down on their level, listen and look them in the eyes. It’s all about relationship.
·         “Be present.” There are so many things that distract us and consume our time; the best gift you can give you kids/parents is just to be there, to be present.
·         “Model a living faith.” Live the faith that you want them to have, actions and words. How are you practising and forgiveness?
    • From your experience what is your top parenting tip?
    • Does your top tip have a biblical basis?

A Biblical base

Read Eph 6:1-4 together
  • How have you been exasperated?
  • What does it mean to honour parents?
  • What is the promise?

Real life stories

What would you do, or what advice would you give in the following situations?
Sarah is so tired because her three children (all under three) are not sleeping. She is beginning to think she can’t cope and she is increasing shouting at the children. On top of that she feels guilty that she has not prayed in as long as she can remember.”
David is a hard working dad with two boys (13 and 16). Because of the mortgage payments on the house feels he has to work longer hours and anyway he likes his job. The one time he could see his boys is sat morning but he is often too tired and opts to sleep in.”
Jane’s parents are in their 80s and need full time care which no one in the family can afford. The parents are mentally very active but physically weak and do not want to be looked after.”


Community matters - “It takes a village to raise a child”

  • What is the biggest challenge for the parents of Ashtead today?
  • Whatever stage of life you are at, how could you help with this?
Rev Mark Searle April 2010


Mark Searle, 17/05/2010