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The Catch and Release Approach to Parenting

Catch and release fishing can be traced back to the United Kingdom. As fishermen began to notice that target species were dwindling in heavily fished waters, the government instituted catch and release as a way preserve these fish for future generations. Meanwhile, I recently heard a sermon comparing catch and release to parenting. This analogy was based upon catching your children in acts of disobedience, using discipline to expose this error and release them back into the world.

Thorns and snares are in the way of the obstinate and willful; he who guards himself will be far from them. Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it, Proverbs 22:5-6.

Sometimes individuals who possess godly wisdom doesn’t translate into becoming a good parent. Such is the case of King Solomon who knew exactly what to do, but struggled when it came to following through. Perhaps, this was a byproduct of Solomon’s weakness for the opposite sex. One wife wasn’t enough for this king. Solomon kept adding women until he accumulated 700 wives and 300 concubines. As his children from each lover continued to pile up, Solomon lost his way as a parent, unable to control all of his children.

Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord, Ephesians 6:4.

As my youngest child begins her final year of high school, my wife Leanne and I are close to an empty nest. Over the past 24 years, we’ve each had our fair share of catching and training our two boys and one girl to do what is right in God’s eyes. Through the past two decades, I haven’t always been the greatest role model, especially in my early years as a parent. Yet, I’ve enjoyed this spiritual fishing journey as it draws to an end. As the time ticks away, all you can do is enjoy each day before we release our daughter Lydia into this world.

by Jay Mankus

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