Thoughts on parenting, God, and fish tanks.

Categories: Faith issues, Family, and Parenting.

Parents are given the responsibility to create an environment for their children in which to grow and thrive.  God created the concept of the family as a place for children and adults experience life to its fullest.  Parents create this environment for their family.  I’m going to use a metaphor to illustrate my point.  A fish tank is a man-made environment for fish.  If the environment in the fish tank is toxic, the fish will die.  The fish are not created for the fish tank, but the fish tank was created for the fish.  I cannot become angry at my fish for not thriving in the environment I created for them.  They can’t just conform to the environment if it’s toxic to them!  If I truly value the fish, I have to change the environment to suit their needs. The fish tank is made for them, not them for the fish tank.  In the same way, the family environment is made for the children (adult children included).  

Jesus said that we are not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath was made for us – for our well-being (Mark 2:27).  God created the perfect environment in which we can thrive.  Since we are not fish but humans with the capacity for choice we can choose to live in a good and Godly environment or we can choose for ourselves a toxic environment. 

As parents, the dilemma or challenge is to explore the environment you are trying to make for your children (adult children included) and prayerfully and humbly discover whether or not the environment you are making is toxic to them or one in which they can thrive.  Because they are human and not fish, they will grow to the age of accountability and can choose to live however they want.  You are responsible for creating the best environment for your family, but you are not responsible for the choices of your adult children.  The family settings you make are for them, not them for your settings.

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