Years ago our two-year-old daughter looked out of the window as we traveled down the road. As a toddler fast learning all about this big world we live in, she was eager to express things to us. She focused her attention to the sky at one point and we asked her what she was seeing. Then, one of my life’s favorite moments happened. Looking up and seeing three clouds in the distance she sweetly said, “Daddy cloud, mommy cloud, baby cloud!”
My wife and I looked at each other with amazement. We instinctively knew in that moment something was right. It was a perfect moment in an imperfect world. Our daughter’s entire life outlook was being filtered through a correct family lens, even when it came to clouds! Obviously, the biggest cloud represented me (my height, of course, not weight!). She saw the smallest cloud as representing herself. The cloud whose size was absolutely perfect was mommy!
It had been important for us both to ingrain our marriage relationship into our daughter’s mind and heart from the start. Even though we have flaws as all parents do, we believed God would use us to show her just how perfect His design is for marriage and family. She could not, at this stage of her life, articulate all that was right about a mom and dad loving each other and raising their children for the glory of God, but she certainly felt it.
Many children do not get to see and understand God’s pattern and design for marriage and family. With the rise of homosexual parenting and adoption, little Billy is taught “daddy cloud, daddy cloud” and is deprived of the mother. Little Beth might say “mommy cloud, mommy cloud” and is deprived of father. Regardless of what opponents might say, the wellbeing of children is not solely about the amount of “love” in the home. Children need to live their lives learning from the examples and relationships of mother AND father according to the Bible.
Other children live with tragedy of divorce. Some receive step-parents in time who, by God’s grace, have the potential to redeem and overcome that brokenness. Others, still, may live their childhoods divided between parents or in a single parent home. Some children are taken away from their parents because of drug or alcohol abuse and thus, suffer having no parents at all. These situations and others are issues that the individuals, families, and churches must redeem by God’s grace. There are many men and women who have overcome broken and twisted examples at home to discover and live out God’s design for marriage and family.
Another obstacle is parents who are in the right structure of the marriage relationship, but are not being the examples they need to be toward their children. They are inactive, apathetic, or rebellious toward their role as mother/wife or father/husband. Each of us can be tempted in such ways. But the Bible says: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Here are three helpful T’s you can use in showing your child the beauty of marriage and family as God designed:
Am I promoting the biblical marriage /biblical family model for them? Am I finding verbal ways to paint “daddy, mommy, and children” pictures for my child? Am I continuing to have discussions with my child about the beauty of marriage? Of course, as the children get older the activities and conversations mature. The Christian parent verbalizes God’s Word to their growing children and teaches them His designs and standards. Tell them what you love about being married to your spouse. What do you love, as a woman, about being married to a man? And particularly, THIS man? As a man, what do you love about being married to a woman? And particularly, THIS woman? Teach them about the uniqueness and giftedness of the other.
Are we spending enough time with our spouse and children? Taking time for everyone to be together on a regular basis is important. If work, play, or anything else is keeping us disengaged on a continual basis, we might need to adjust something or pray for God’s intervention. A dad that never sees or plays with or has meaningful conversation with his children is like a cloud 100 miles away and out of the sight of his child. If our children believe mommy or daddy is detached from spouse or family, it undermines the picture we are trying to paint for them. Husbands and wives must be on guard against continual daily distractions. Time engaging with your family is one of the most important blessings you get from God, and it does not last forever on this earth. Use it wisely, intentionally, and joyfully.
TLC - Tender, Loving, Care.
In short, love hard. It doesn’t matter if we’re in the right structure and going through all the motions (i.e. working the job, taking kids to practice, cleaning house, fixing dinner, getting kids ready for bed, etc.). When a child actually witnesses the love between a mommy and a daddy during their day, it makes an impact. Children are sponges! If a mommy and daddy are constantly hateful to each other, it can affect the child’s worldview. Consequently, they may be led to question or resent God’s design or even reject it.
Practicing these T’s daily will help our marriages and our families. God hears our prayers. So pray. God has given Christians His Spirit to guide us. So walk in the Spirit. The biblical family design is under attack. Will we do our part to promote and protect it? A large piece of that, for each of us, begins in our own homes. The church of Jesus Christ can change people, marriages, families, communities, countries, and the world in positive ways by living out God’s design for marriage. Let us pray and strive for more and more children who are seeing a correct reflection of family, even in the clouds.