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A woman recently told me about parenting advice she read in a resource popular among homeschoolers. Her comment began something like this: “I was reading in ______________ the other day; and if you will do such and such, then such and such . . .”

Inwardly I cringed. If you have read this blog very long, you know that I believe in being a loving, devoted, and active parent.

I believe in parenting. I just don’t believe in formulas.

Parenting is about relationships. There is no formula for marriage relationships, for friendships, or for parenting children.

Our heavenly Father is the perfect parent and He never gets it wrong — never, not ever. Still, His children mess up. They don’t do what He wants them to do all the time — not even close.

Ray and I ended our trip to Alaska by spending Labour Day in Vancouver, British Columbia. Canada celebrates Labour Day on the same day we celebrate Labor Day.

I had one main impression of Vancouver — people certainly are packed together there! First, we rode a shuttle from the port to our hotel. On our way we saw many high-rise apartment buildings. Then we walked a few blocks to a station where we boarded the elevated train/subway and traveled with standing room only.

In the historic Gastown District, we took turns with the many other tourists taking photos of the steam-powered clock.

Steam Powered Clock Vancouver
Gastown’s Steam-Powered Clock

We went to Stanley Park on a bus, again with standing room only. The park’s 1000 acres teemed with people enjoying Labour Day. When we tried in vain to find the totems, a nice couple led us to them.

Alaska with Fuji 3963
Stanley Park Totems

As we walked in the park with other walkers, people on wheels streamed by us on a paved path. They rode bicycles, roller blades, roller skates, and skateboards. We even saw a couple holding hands as they moved along on two skateboards. We sat by the water and gazed across at the boats, yachts, and skyscrapers.

Alaska with Fuji 3991
Vancouver, British Columbia, as Seen from Stanley Park

The people we saw that day, the people who live and work in those skyscrapers, and the people who live in your house have many things in common. They are creations of God who long for relationships — with God, with their families, and with others.

Is there one kind of parenting that did work with all those adults or that will work with all of the children? Not a chance.

Relate to the human beings that God has placed in your care. Learn them. Love them. Train them. Work for them. Serve them. Pray for them — and then pray some more. Do that for your grandchildren, too. And, keep doing that for the rest of your life.

It’s worth it.

Live in peace with one another.
We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly,
encourage the fainthearted, help the weak,
be patient with everyone.
See that no one repays another with evil for evil,
but always seek after that which is good
for one another and for all people.
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing;
in everything give thanks;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:13-18


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