Woomp Woomp – Woomp Woomp… that is the sound of today’s “Helicopter Parents”. This new phrase describes overprotective parents who hover their children with worry and fear and swoop in to protect their child from challenges or problems.
– Parents who call college prof to reconsider a given grade for class, when prof says no the parent threatens to sue.
- Mom who contacts school principal requesting him to fire teacher bc child didn’t like teacher.
– Parents who attend job interviews with adult child or help adult child negotiate salary for a new job or question why they did not get certain job promotions.
– Parents who regularly do laundry and general/basic household chores of adult (and even married) children.
– Mom who calls adult son’s wife to instruct her to take better care of her son and not yell at him so much.
– Dad who shows up to work for his adult daughter so she can vacation in Cancun, Mexico
In sum, helicopter parents perform tasks and solve problems for the children rather than teaching them to become independent workers and problem solvers on their own. The intended goal of the parent typically results in the opposite occurring.
Some parents literally worry over being worried. And guess what? Worried parents produce worried children. The simple truth is that greater worry does not equal greater love for your children. In fact, when parents worry they often wound their children.
Today’s message is meant to bring hope to worried parents. Parents can learn the difference between helping vs. hovering. Further, families can cultivate a vision for long-term hopes and dreams of their children having lives of purpose, significance and influence.
EXAMINE 2Timothy 1:1-7 Hope For Worried Parents
As most of the NT, this book was actually a letter from Paul to Timothy.
Paul: His name used to be Saul and was a Pharisee (Jewish religious leader) and persecutor of Christianity. However, after a significant encounter with Jesus Christ he was converted and committed as a follower of Jesus. When a person encounters Jesus their eyes are opened to a new way of living. Paul became a missionary, mostly to Gentiles (those who had never heard the gospel) as he made disciples and started churches. He would often write letters to correspond and instruct others in the Christian faith. 13 of Paul’s letters would become known as Holy Scripture – letters viewed as from one close (Apostle) to Jesus, content of letter was true & supportive of OT, catholic in used broadly by believers.
Apostle: This term can be used two ways: 1) Action: As a messenger or representative, or 2) Office: As a title for an eyewitness and ambassador of Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 1:22; 1Corinthians 9:1-2). Paul states his apostleship was by the command of God – our Savior and Christ Jesus our hope.
Note: Paul’s designation of Jesus as the Christ, with God as Savior and our hope would be in contrast to Roman Empire of Nero as god & savior; or those Jews who rejected Jesus.
Timothy: A young man who was a believer by influence of his mother and grandmother (2Timothy 1:5). Timothy traveled with Paul on many mission journeys (Acts 16:1-5). Timothy and Paul shared a spiritual family kinship (my true child).
Paul writes 2nd letter to Timothy (from a jail likely awaiting death). Paul was in prison but he still had a purpose. He wrote letters to disciple others & churches.
à No matter your circumstances you still have a calling.
à à Parents must remember that regardless of their circumstances they should still focus on nurturing their child in the way of God.
– Love and joy are a choice, they are byproducts of trust & obedience in God.
– The single parent who struggles has a choice to focus on their own problems or do the best possible in creating an environment of love, joy and spiritual legacy.
– The unemployed or underemployed family that is financially burdened has a choice to be prideful and lose hope or they can humble themselves and accept God’s provision through other family and friends.
– The spouse married to an unbeliever has a choice to complain and criticize or they can choose to construct the home and relationship they want to have.
3 Truths for Worried Parents
Every child needs a coach (2Timothy 1:1-2)
As mentioned, Paul and Timothy had a special bond. Paul sought to coach and mentor Timothy; perhaps the bond was there because Timothy’s father was a Greek (unbeliever; Acts 16:1-3) and he needed a godly male role model. Paul viewed himself as a father to Timothy calling him his child (1Timothy 1:2, 18) and more his beloved [ajgaphtw] child (2Timothy 1:2). In Philippians 2:19-24 Paul says he has no one in ministry more likeminded than Timothy.
The fact that Timothy is called a child does not mean so in age necessarily as much as it meant both affection for Timothy and perhaps as an aspect of Timothy’s maturity. Timothy had things to learn and grow in as God’s minister which was the impetus behind both these pastoral letters.
Paul greets Timothy with 3 virtues
- Grace: God’s unmerited favor given to an undeserving person or circumstance. It is not based on ability or performance (what you do for me) but based on being who they are in the image God made them to be.
– Paul is saying, “Timothy I love and support you no matter what – through God’s unconditional love.”
- Mercy: God’s help to sustain or strengthen a person or circumstance. It is compassion, hope and help in the midst of hardship.
– Paul saying, “Timothy, I want to help you and pray God’s strength in your life.”
- Peace: God’s blessing of bringing a person or circumstance into contentment and harmony with attention to a person’s entire well being – physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually (shalom – OT).
– Paul saying, “Timothy, I want the best for your present & future according to God’s will.”
ð Do you have a coach or mentor to encourage these virtues in your life?
– Parents should have coaches & mentors; some older than you and some alongside you in the journey.
ð Are you or others encouraging these to your children?
– As parents, those who have you & your child’s best interest should have the most time around you. Do you prioritize this time or let other people and activities consume your time?
– One element of the church is a sense of community providing each other, especially the next generation, role models to reinforce the godly convictions, character and competencies.
– Parents, equip your children how to select friends; discern balcony vs basement friends
Proverbs 13:20 “whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
1Corinthians 15:33 “bad company corrupts good character”
Every coach needs a child (2Timothy 1:3-4)
Paul was thankful that when he was a child he had ancestors to teach him. Likewise, he sought to do the same for Timothy. Paul understood that faith was not something in isolation of others but included and integrated relationships.
Paul was away from Timothy and longed to be with him and be filled with joy. Paul’s remembrance resulted in prayer.
ð God prompts people/circumstances in your mind so you will pray for them.
ð God places people in your path to love.
Are you looking to mentor?
– Follow God (live worthy of imitation)
Ephesians 4:1 “walk in a manner worthy of the calling”
Ephesians 5:1 “be imitators of God…and walk in love”
Philippians 1:27 “let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ”
– Feed the hungry (look for those who are spiritually curious & committed)
2Timothy 2:2 “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
Faithful. Available. Initiative. Teachable. Hungry.
Are you looking for a mentor?
– Read. There are countless books, blogs, articles, and resources to read for instruction & training.
2Timothy 4:13 “bring the books and above all the parchments”
“Leaders are readers”
– Relate. We can learn something from everyone.
1Thessalonians 2:8 “we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves because you had become so dear to us.”
- Don’t start convo “Will you be my mentor?” – it’s like on first date “Will you marry me?” It happens but usually isn’t sustaining. Build relationships, serve & spend time and then see where/how God leads.
Every family fans a flame (2Timothy 1:5-7)
Paul’s memory of Timothy caused him to remember the relationships that led Timothy toward faith and following God into service. Timothy’s grandmother Lois passed her faith to her daughter Eunice. Eunice then passed her faith to her son Timothy (Acts 16:1-5). This is a marvelous spiritual heritage across three generations.
ð What is the legacy you are leaving for future generations? Will it last?
- (go beyond American Pickers & American Restoration to an Eternal Heritage)
- Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
1:5 Timothy’s faith was sincere and dwelling in his life.
1:6 Timothy’s faith was a gift of God that Paul encouraged to fan into flame
ð What dwells in your day; week; life? What is most talked about in home? What do you stress over?
ð How are you nurturing your child’s faith, gifts, talents?
- Paul did this by encouragement:
v.5 “I am sure” [perfect tense – Paul had certainty and encouraged Timothy; “encouragement is essential”
- Paul did this by prayer
v.6 laying of hands
In Praying Circles Around Your Children, Mark Batterson says
“You don’t have to do everything right as a parent, but there is one thing you cannot afford to get wrong. That one thing is prayer. You’ll never be a perfect parent, but you can be a praying parent. Prayer is your highest privilege as a parent. There is nothing you can do that will have higher return on investment. In fact, the dividends are eternal” (p.11).
“Parents [and teachers] you are prophets to your children… Prayer is the way we write the future. It’s the difference between letting things happen and making things happen” (p.39). Further… we “need a vision for our children. With our physical eyes we see who a person is. With our spiritual eyes we see what that person can be. And it’s only when you close your physical eyes in prayer that God will open your spiritual eyes to perceive what is far more real than the reality you can perceive with your five senses (p.70).”
- Paul did this by pointing to God
2Timothy 1:7 “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control”
Nurturing character into our children
à Fear/timidity/cowardice (cf. Revelation 21:8)
- Risk for the glory of God
à Spirit of Power
- Strength & passion for the glory of God (1Cor 10:31)
à Spirit of Love
- Care and service for people for the glory of God (Luke 10:27-37)
à Spirit of Self-control
- Discipline and perseverance for the glory of God (1Cor 9:26-27)