Fear Not Parenting in the Present Age—

In our house, the evening routine includes watching the local news before we turn in. I’m often ready to shut off the TV long before the half-hour newscast is over, as coverage of national and world circumstances gets harder and harder to watch, especially when sleep is the next thing on the schedule. War, famine, genocide, politics, the economy, and changing cultural norms weigh heavy on our minds and hearts.

Our older daughter was just a year old when the events of September 11, 2001, occurred.  I well remember working through a long period of fear over the years that followed. As she and then our two subsequent children grew, it seemed like every few months there was a new low point in history to be alarmed about. I wondered and worried about how the world would even function by the time my babies became adults. Does this sound familiar?

Through those years, and by the Lord’s graciousness, I learned that every last bit of my fear and worry was wasted. I realized it was, in fact, sin that I needed to be repent ed of because I plainly was not trusting the Lord completely with my children’s lives and futures. Time and time again God’s Word says in various forms, “Do not fear,” “Don’t be afraid,” “Cast all your cares” on Him, or “Trust in the Lord.” Over and over, we see examples of the Lord’s faithfulness and perfectly appointed rescue. And yet, when circumstances in this crazy world seem to be out of control (They’re not, but are firmly in the Lord’s control.), we’re often more likely to turn to the unbelief that of fear is rather than turning to the admonition and comfort of the Lord. (Full disclosure: I still sometimes worry about my children’s futures, even though they’re adults. Hopefully. I’m a little quicker to repent and trust than I used to be!)

The Lord does expect us to do what He commands, so in addition to trusting, we have some work to do. The Bible commands us to “train up a child in the way he should go,” and follows it this instruction with a precious promise that “when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 ESV). What does that look like? First and foremost, we must earnestly and faithfully pray for our children as they grow. We must instruct our children about sin and repentance. In addition, to those things, as Adrien Segal writes in her article, “We Need Not Parent in Fear,” on www.desiringgod.com, we must be God wants us to be

  • “loving Him [the Lord] most and best (Luke 10:27),
  • “praying earnestly for His help and leading as we parent our children (Philippians 4:6–7),
  • “being obedient to His leading rather than catering to the world (John 8:31),
  • “working to introduce our children to the wonders of who He is,
  • “training our children from His word to understand, and long to be, the kind of people he wants them to be (Deuteronomy 6:4–7),
  • “teaching them about the amazing sacrifice Jesus has made so that they might live in joy forever (1 John 4:10; Colossians 1:21–22; Ephesians 1:7),
  • “displaying joy in Jesus and the life we (and they can) have in God (John 10:10; 15:11); and through all of these things, if we are [to be]
  • “encouraging them to love, trust, and enjoy God above all things.”

When we are faithful to do what God commands in discipling children, the world’s circumstances will have far less influence over our hearts and minds. But there are those topics that aren’t specifically covered in the Bible and yet are on our radars in the 21st century—gender and identity, racial divide, and lack of respect for life—perhaps being among the most crucial and most difficult to talk about with our children. If you’re looking for some guidance and encouragement for having those difficult conversations, please seek counsel from pastoral staff and elders. Also, take advantage of the many printed and digital resources from which to glean doctrinally and theologically sound advice. The list below is a small sample.


PCA CDM Children’s Ministry   (Roll down to Resources for Parents, and take special note of PARENTING BOYS AND GIRLS IN A GENDER-CONFUSED WORLD)
PCA CDM Grow Blog — How to Prepare Your Heart for Difficult Conversations with Your Kids

We Need Not Parent in Fear by Adrien Segal


PCA CDM Grow Podcast

Raising Kids in a Changing World, Sinclair Ferguson & Steven Lawson

Risen Motherhood (search for: culture)

Books for Adults

Mama Bear Apologetics by Hillary Morgan Ferrer

Stand Fast – Fathers & Sons in the Way of Truth by Douglas Bond

Hold Fast – Fathers & Sons in a Broken World by Douglas Bond

Books for Children

About Being a Boy or a Girl: Discussing Gender and Marriage with Little Ones in Light of God’s Word by Lisa Updike

Cassie and Caleb Discover God’s Wonderful Design by Susan Hunt and Richie Hunt

God Made Boys and Girls by Marty Machowski

God Made Me and You by Shai Linne

God’s Very Good Idea by Trillia Newbell

Let me leave you with a little more encouragement. As a Director of Children’s Ministry for over ten years, I’ve never been more excited about what I see the Lord doing. More and more, I see kids fully engaged in Bible study and discussion, families seeking out churches that teach the Bible, church leadership that more fully recognizes children as valued members of the church body, and denominational leadership that understands how vital it is to teach and train parents and children’s ministry volunteers. This has to be the Lord’s doing!  And it is not a surprise to the Lord that the children in our care are growing up at this time in history. In His perfect plan, He ordained them for this time in history and appointed the adults in their lives to teach them well. He will be faithful—just as He has always been. Soli Deo Gloria!

Soli deo gloria!

Benae Duff is the Director of Children’s Ministry at Westkirk Presbyterian Church in Urbandale, Iowa. More significantly, she’s wife to Tom, and mom to Nicole, Joshua and Lindsey. Rounding out the family are Sofi the High Maintenance Lhasa Apso, and Chloe the Destructo Cat. Benae and Tom are enjoying their new lifestyle as empty-nesters, which allows more time for travel and Benae’s creative endeavors – mostly projects that don’t turn out as planned. Benae is thankful daily for the gifts of grace and prayer, and that even though she never has it all together, the Lord always does.