The most liberating truth about gospel-centered parenting is that you don’t have to be the hero of your child’s story. Instead, you get to be the guide who introduces them to true Hero! Yes, in many ways they may come to regard us as their heroes (not a bad thing), but that’s not our aim.

As our kids’ guides, we have at least four big tasks: to know the way, to show them how to walk in the way, to equip them, and to demonstrate how to correct their course when they’re off track.

  1. Know the way.

    How can we introduce them to Jesus if we don’t know him ourselves? If we don’t prioritize our walk with Christ, we are aimless—we’re way-less. So we’ll lead them wherever our paths lead instead of guiding them to the right path that leads to the best destination: Jesus.

  2. Walk the way.

    They won’t know how to navigate the path’s difficulties unless we show them how. This is the discipleship part. Kids will, and should, ask big and sometimes difficult questions. We don’t have to have every answer, but we should walk alongside them in discovering what God’s Word says.

  3. Prepare them for the way.

    Journeys require special equipment, and the more arduous the journey, the more sturdy and reliable the equipment must be. As guides in our children’s lives, we must equip them with tools and knowledge necessary to journey on their own, as there will come a time when we can’t walk beside them every step of the way.

  4. Demonstrate course correction.

    As Christians, our lives are full of repentance and learning to believe the Gospel more fully. One of the best things we can demonstrate for our kids is what it means to repent, and coincidentally, being a parent gives us many opportunities to do just that! If you sin against your kids (angry outbursts, anyone??), repent to them. In doing so you’re not only reconciling with them, but you’re showing them how to get back on track when you go off the rails.

"The most freeing truth about gospel-centered parenting is that you needn't be the hero of your child's story. Instead, you get to be their guide."

— Ryan G. Frederick

woman and child walking in flower garden during daytime

Remember, your kids don’t expect you to be perfect, but they do expect you to be real. You don’t have to be their ultimate hero—which is a crushing responsibility anyway. Instead, learn to know and trust Jesus to be both your Hero and theirs.