Don’t Try to Parent From “The Cloud”

Scott AtteberyChristian Living, ParentingLeave a Comment

Do you ever take your work home with you? I do.

I don’t bring work home in the traditional briefcase or backpack. It’s all “in the cloud” now anyway –just waiting for me to pick it up.

Worse than what’s “in the cloud,” however, is what’s in my head. I don’t have to be sitting at a desk or staring at a computer to be consumed with work. I just have to be awake.

The problem is that I have another responsibility after business hours. This responsibility is much greater because it is my responsibility to my son –which is ultimately part of my responsibility to God (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).

Just like fulfilling responsibilities at my job helps me provide for my son’s external needs (food, shelter, clothing, etc) (I Timothy 5:8), fulfilling my responsibilities at home provide for my son’s internal needs (parenting, leadership, discipleship, attention, love) (Proverbs 22:6).

And while there are other people who can provide help to my son in some of these areas, I remind myself daily of one simple truth: I am the only earthly daddy that Bryce has. Nobody else can fill that role but me.

I can be replaced at my job and work will go on as if nothing happened. But, I cannot be replaced as a daddy. It’s my unique responsibility.

The way I father Bryce teaches him about his Heavenly Father. The question is: what is my parenting teaching him about God? I’m not necessarily talking about what I verbalize to Bryce through reading bedtime devotional books or working through his AWANA lesson (although those types of things are valuable).

But the most potent teaching about God is revealed from the way I treat Bryce. Bryce’s view of his Heavenly Father is shaped by my actions, attitudes, and behaviors. Just as Jesus manifest the Father during His earthly ministry; believers in Christ (i.e. Christian parents) are called to manifest God to the world (i.e. our children) by being Christ-like.

That means Bryce develops his understanding of how much God cares for him in part by the way I care for him. And his view of God’s concern and desire for relationship is somewhat shaped by the attention I pay to him as well.

If I desire for my son to trust Christ and have a vibrant relationship with the Father  and to confidently “draw near to the throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:16), then I must have a vibrant relationships with my son and be welcoming when he draws near to me. Not only that, but I have the responsibility to connect the two concepts by bringing my son before God in prayer and study of Scripture.

Here’s the problem: The work I bring home in my head and in “the cloud” are constantly competing for the attention that belongs to my son. I bet you can relate.

Just as Bryce is asking me which crayon color I want to draw with, my brain remembers a phone call I neglected to make that day. And, in the middle of dinner, as I’m having an “aha moment” about the big problem in the office, I realize Bryce has been telling me a story about his big moment at school today –and I can’t remember one detail of what he has said.

Then he says, “Dad, are you listening?” Ouch. That’s a heart breaker.

I can choose to hear that question as an obstacle to my “work” or see it as God reminding me about my more important “work.” I have a choice to make –and its time to get my head out of the cloud!

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