The Art and Science of Parenting

by Tamara Dicks

If art is the expression of human creativity and science requires systematic study using observation and experimentation, then wouldn’t all parents need training in both? But what if you are not the creative or intellectual type? What if you are neither an imaginative parent nor a strict formula parent? For most of us, if we are honest, parenting can often be a shot in the dark just hoping to get within range of the target.

Thank our God in heaven that He has given us the ultimate “Parenting for Dummies” book, the Bible. But you say, “Where does it tell you how to put a baby to bed, place a 3-year-old in time-out, correct improper language, or…?” If the ultimate parenting book is missing those pieces of information, how in the world is that helpful to me when unacceptable photos show up on a son’s cell phone or a daughter didn’t show up at school?

Our common goal, as Christian parents, is to raise our children to be God-honoring, those who love and serve Him, and to be good citizens who do right and love others. The Bible gives us specifics for living a wise and successful life according to God’s standards, especially in the book of Proverbs where it tells us to work hard, be choosey about your spouse, don’t bother taking on a fool, don’t be a fool, use your finances wisely, and not to provoke your children to anger.  There are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs, one for each day of the month. Taking its wise counsel to heart will help us to live, and parent, wisely.

Throughout the Bible, we are given principles to thrive by: trust God, love one another, honor your marriage, be good stewards, control your tongue, obey authority, and much more.  God has provided us specifics on how to honor Him and love others – including our children.

Deuteronomy 6:7 says “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” In Old Testament times, these words were verbally passed down from generation to generation. Without a personal Bible in hand, God’s people memorized His words and repeated them at work, in the public square, at home and to their children. They “wrote” God’s Word on their hearts, and had it available 24 hours a day.  Memorizing God’s word is one of the best ways to have His counsel readily at hand when you face a difficult parenting situation.

As parents, we tend to put pressure on ourselves for things that will work out as time goes on, potty training, manners, hygiene habits, keeping a clean room, etc. The Bible says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) Laying a foundation in a child’s life that honors God allows us to build on it brick by brick, precept by precept, moment by moment, conversation by conversation. That’s good parenting, and we don’t even need to be artists or scientists!

Tamara Dicks was a medical transcriptionist/platform trainer, medical transporter for a residential facility, and pastor’s wife. She is the mother of 6 and has been married to her college sweetheart for 38 years. They are foster parents for the state of Minnesota. Tamara currently writes for the Maple River Messenger and teaches CPR.