Parenting In The 21st Century | Jeremy Fernando

| Jeremy Fernando

Parenting in the 21st century has become one of the most difficult vocations one could aspire to hold. I can attest to this difficulty first hand being the father of five girls and the only male in a blended family. I have had to ‘play it by the book’ as my mentor Garry always tells me. This ‘book’ of course is the greatest source of wisdom this world has ever known… the Bible. And it has been unfailing in delivering me parenting tip after parenting tip.

Perhaps the most relevant one for today concerns a buzz parenting word – self-regulation… or as the Bible describes it – self-control.

Did you know that self-control is actually a fruit of the Spirit? (Galatians 5:22-23)

This means it cannot be taught! It is the product not of ourselves… but of God. So when we are looking for a change in behavior in our children we must be careful not to “self-analyze” or encourage  “self-awareness” but rather promote a “God awareness.”

A sensitivity to the Spirit of God is what produces self-control – NOT an increase in awareness of ourselves – this leads to hostility quarreling, selfish ambition, envy, and dissension.

Our behavior is always the product of our belief. So we must check what our child believes. In my role as chaplain at a local state primary school, I was recently referred to a six-year-old boy who was suffering from anxiety. He has to wear a bedtime nappy due to his nocturnal incontinence. During our conversation, he expressed a fear of being alone. I acknowledged his fear and empathized saying, “ When I am afraid of being on my own I pray.” He immediately replied, “But God isn’t real is He, Mr. Fernando?” I encouraged him to work that out for himself and left it at that (as per our code of conduct in a state school). Two weeks later his mother informed me that the young boy had stopped wetting his bed at night! When asked if he was still afraid he replied, “Whenever I get scared I just pray!”

This story affirms that behavior is the product of our belief system. When a child acts out it is a sure sign that they are out of step with the Spirit of God. When we see this poor behavior in our children we need to ask ourselves, “What lie is my child believing?”

Paul then reminds us to “gently and humbly help them back to the right path.” (Galatians 6:1)

But we must remember that the only hope that our children have is Jesus Christ. He is THE WAY, the Truth, and the Life and there is no other name under heaven by which they may be saved!

So as challenging as parenting can be we need not fear. The Holy Spirit in us is able to guide us through the minefield of parenting. He empowers us to be a demonstration of Christ and to show them the love that their Father in Heaven has for them. I pray today that you might be in step with the Spirit and train your child in the way they should go.


Jeremy, with his wife Janita, are the Senior Pastors of Sapphire Life Church. They are a dynamic duo who love Jesus and love people. Jeremy has recently completed his Masters in Divinity and is also a School Chaplain. He is an engaging speaker whose messages reflect a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and daily devotion to the Bible.

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