Everything good takes time, including molding the character of the next generation. As parents, we must have a long-term view of our roles in our children’s’ lives while also trusting in the long-term fruit of instructing them in God’s way. It can be helpful to contrast the two views to understand why one approach is more sustainable than the other.

Short-view parenting sees behavioral problems as actions to be corrected because they are inconvenient, loud, hurtful, or destructive in the moment.

Long-view parenting sees behavioral problems as symptoms of a larger need for heart-renewal from the inside out. The behavior can then be corrected, but must be traced back to our need for Jesus if we’re to ever find freedom from sin.

Short-view parenting measures parental success by the outward accomplishments of the child.

Long-view parenting understands that outward accomplishments, while worthy of celebration, aren’t more important than having a character and hope shaped by the Word of God.

Short-view parenting sees the tasks of parenting as life-interrupting inconveniences to be minimized, avoided, or quickly dispatched.

Long-view parenting sees the tasks of parenting as a joy (though not always an easy joy) to be embraced as the substance of life itself. While kids are not central to a long-view parent’s identity, stewarding the duties of raising children are purpose-filled endeavors, no matter how inconsequential or insignificant they seem.

Short-view parenting is driven by preparing children for success in the world by the world’s standards. It sees this life as ultimate.

Long-view parenting defines the purpose in raising children as introducing them to God and stirring their affections for Him. It sees eternity as ultimate.

Much can be said on the differences between long- and short-view parenting, but the largest difference is this: Gospel-fueled purpose. May we be parents who fight for a long-term view of parenting, and may our children come to follow Jesus quickly and gladly as a result.