Non-Helicopter Parenting

Tuesday, December 14, 2021
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Listen while you read: "God Rest You Merry Gentlemen"1 (Lyrics)

Proverbs 22:6 – Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. (NIV 2011)

Mary and Joseph were the antithesis of helicopter parents. Wikipedia defines a helicopter parent as one "who pays extremely close attention to a child's or children's experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions. Helicopter parents are so named because, like helicopters, they 'hover overhead', overseeing every aspect of their child's life constantly." We can definitely say that Mary and Joseph were not helicopter parents, despite the fact that they bore the enormous responsibility of training and caring for the Son of God.

Before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, they knew that they were being entrusted with parenting God's Son. From the angel Gabriel's message about His conception, Mary was aware that her Son was unique, and from Simeon's words about His destiny, she had an inkling of what lay ahead for Him.

Very little is said in the Bible about Joseph's role as Jesus' earthly father, but we do know that he believed Mary's account of Jesus' heavenly parentage, and he diligently trained Him in the carpentry trade. Nonetheless, the spotlight is usually on Mary as the mother of this heavenly Child.

Luke 2:19 – But Mary kept all these things like a secret treasure in her heart. She thought about them over and over. (NIRV)

Despite His parents' natural concerns in that dangerous time in history, they did not cosset Him or throw up barricades to protect Him from all possible danger.

As an example of this, when 12-year-old Jesus and His family travelled to Jerusalem for Passover that year, it wasn't until their caravan was partway home that Mary and Joseph realized that Jesus wasn't in the group. With no Amber Alert available, they hurried back to Jerusalem to look for Him. Finding Him in the temple intelligently conversing with the religious leaders, they did not understand the significance of this event, though Jesus Himself knew the purpose of this early encounter.

Caring for our children, grandchildren, and others in today's world can be daunting, but we can trust our loving heavenly Father to guide us each step of the way. We may be alarmed by the danger and risk that we see ahead of our loved ones, but we can entrust them to God's loving care and protection.

Had Mary tried to protect Jesus from future danger, she would have been out of step with God's plan of salvation for the world. Helicopter parenting today cannot protect our children from all dangers, particularly events that are part of God's plan for children or others in our care — by hampering growth and development, both theirs and ours. We do not know what God has planned for our loved ones, but let us trust His plan and His heart.

Prayer: Dear Father, You cared so well for Your Son while He was here on earth. Please show us how to train and wisely care for our children and others for whom we bear oversight. Amen.

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About the author:

Gail Lundquist <>
Beaverton, Oregon, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you.

    Thank you, Gail. This is a new aspect on the life of Jesus that hadn’t occurred to me.

    Well-done and said, Gail! Memorable and loving. Isn’t it amazing how much there STILL is to be said about the ‘holy family,’ despite all the writing that has gone before. Your message is fresh and vital today.

    Thanks, Gail, for another of your very insightful devotionals. Yes, it is so important for us to guide our children from an early start in life to know about Jesus and may His loving light guide them day by day. Blessings for these special writings you do.

    Good morning, Gail,
    A different way of looking at Jesus’ parents here on earth. A wonderful lesson that we all need to hear because we all affect other people’s lives and we did to do it in a way that God guides us because we see only a small picture where He sees a much bigger one. Thanks for the great reminder to talk to God about everything we do. May you enjoy the peace, love, hope, and joy of the season.

    Thank you, Gail, for sharing more of Joseph as it seems his role isn’t talked about enough. The fact that he wasn’t the physical father of Jesus was a shock to those who knew that he and Mary were not married. God certainly knew that Joseph was the right man for Mary and the coming of Jesus Christ our Savior. Your words really brought some new thoughts to my mind, and I am grateful. God bless you and yours as we all celebrate together.

    Thank you for this intriguing perspective. Much thoughtfulness. Keep writing.

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