How much of your internal identity is created through your relationship to your dad and mom? Inside, we all crave a strong, doting dad and loving, caring mom. God has created us to grow up in a nurturing family. When one of those pieces is missing, absent, or broken, children can grow up in dysfunction. Can kids grow up in challenging situations and thrive? Yes, but I don't think that is the usual.
God created the family to disciple and grow children into healthy adults who love God and love others. The primary job that God gives parents is to teach their children God's commandments and how to apply those in their daily lives.
Training a child to understand the world through God's eyes and apply God's truths to each life situation is a full time responsibility. When one piece is missing, the child suffers. When Dad isn't providing and leading, the child suffers. When Mom isn't nurturing and teaching, the child suffers. There is a constant tension because parents are sinners who struggle to live Biblically.
In the picture above, I'm reading to children, some of whom do not have parents in their lives to train and nurture them. Their parents have made the choices to leave them to aunts, cousins, and grandma to raise, and they have physically left to find work in far away places. Many do this so their kids can eat consistent meals and go to good schools, hopefully to escape the poverty cycle. What happens to many children is that they grow up with fractured identities and feel disconnected. They grow up in need of parents who teach them God's ways and impart a healthy identity. They grow up in need of fathers who lead them and mothers who nurture them.
Parenting priorities... In the above graphic, I'm trying to illustrate a Biblical approach to making parenting decisions. Of course, providing for our families is as important as teaching them spiritually, partly because it is in our providing that we model Christ's provision. But, when we replace #2 with #3, that is when the kids will start to suffer.
We're a family on mission to bring the good news of Jesus to the Philippines.