The other day I came across this piercing quote:

It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.
(Frederick Douglass)

This quote speaks to two profound opportunities shared by parents: (1) to introduce our kids to Jesus, and (2) to raise our young men and women to be people of strength and character.

What is a “broken man”, and what hope do we have?

What could be meant by “broken men”, and how could our parenting influence that outcome? There’s a deep brokenness that is part of the human condition. We are all lost, broken sinners in need of God’s grace—this is the biblical perspective.

“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

We are sinners by nature and by action, and we can’t measure up to God’s perfect standard. This type of soul-deep brokenness can only be mended and healed by God himself, and the good news is that all who place their faith in Jesus can be reconciled with God!

Our first opportunity

As parents, can we heal every bit of our children’s brokenness? No, we can’t. But we can introduce them to the One who can. That is our first and most important opportunity as parents.

Our second opportunity

Our second opportunity is in “building strong children”. As we introduce our kids to God and raise them up in His way, we can impart into them character and wisdom that strengthens them for the various challenges they’ll experience in life. No parent is perfect in this, but the opportunity is real.

A glad responsibility

As parents, we have the glad responsibility to be more vigilant in our children’s lives than everyone and everything else. We can be—we must be—louder than the world.

Are we faithfully reminding them of the Gospel? Are we directing them to the truth that their identity is in Christ alone and is secure no matter what? And are we teaching them what it means to live wisely—with stewardship, diligence, character, soft-heartedness, kindness toward others, and with faith-filled patience through hard times? We can teach them these things, and by God’s grace we shall.

Again, no parent is perfect, but we’re not without help! May we be parents who know Jesus personally, rely on God’s Word daily, and live with constant help from the Holy Spirit. Then, may we live to see our children become strong men and women who influence and love their generation for Jesus.

"It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."

— Frederick Douglass

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