Over the past few years, I've read several child-rearing books. Okay, make that LOTS of child-rearing books. Some I've loved; others I've hated; but I've learned something from each. Authors give advice on training, discipline, education, health, safety, and myriad other kid-related topics. There is one aspect of training up little ones that is rarely, if ever, covered, though, and I find it a little disconcerting.
I cannot think of any book I've read that delves into the aspect of children as gifts, on loan from God. It's mentioned, oh yes, numerous times and by many authors, but I've not come across anyone who's actually stopped to dwell on the issue.
When I hear the term "loan," I think of a bank lending money. After securing a bank loan, I may have cash in a bank account, but it's not really mine. In most cases, I can do with it what I choose, but the end result is the same: I have to repay not only the principal, but also the interest. What would happen if I were to raise my children with this same mindset?
Whenever I've borrowed items from someone else, I usually give great attention and care to the borrowed item so that I can return it in as good of condition as possible. While I'm not careless with my own belongings, I'm not as careful with them since I don't have to return them to someone else.
All too often, I get caught up in thinking that these three spark plugs belong to me permanently, wholly, and completely - well, to me and my husband. Truthfully, this is a very selfish and unbiblical mindset. I am merely a steward into whose care these gifts have been placed by God. I love them as my own, and I try to be the best mom I can be. If I were to continually remember that they are loans, though, I think I would become a better mother than I currently am.
During the moments when I remember that my children are on loan, I act differently. I'm calmer, more collected; I'm gentler in voice and action; I have more patience with petty things. Some day, I will answer to God regarding my child-rearing attempts. I am not responsible for saving my children's souls - only the Lord can do that. But I am responsible to raise them in a manner that honors the Lord and is in keeping with His word.
While there may be a gap in parenting books, God's Word perfectly fills the void. I will continue reading other authors on the subject, but I will rely most fully on the Lord's infallible teaching, knowing that it's the answer to the "missing manual."