Compass or Map? How a Parent Finds “True North”
Second in a four-part series on parenting from your strengths
Just as a GPS helps you stay on course as you travel to reach your destination, parents across the globe need a simple parenting GPS – Global Parenting System – to help them stay on course with raising their children.
Three segments of the Global Parenting System work together to pinpoint your position and to tell you where to go next in parenting your children. The first of these, God’s Word, provides an unwavering reference point for the rest.
Remember Rob and Kate from our previous article? This couple struggled to be on the same page in raising their children. The two could simply not get in sync. In looking for answers, each of them shifted positions often. Rob and Kate needed a common, fixed reference point from which to make their decisions.
Image: Kenai National Wildlife
Do You Know How to Find True North?
The solution to parenting seemed so simple: Rob and Kate would seek out reliable information from “experts” and use that as a starting point to work from there. Yet the more the couple sought advice, the more options they discovered. Which expert could they trust?
Adventure travelers to the North Pole face a similar problem: geological experts use different options to identify the pole’s location. Thrill-seekers cannot plan their adventure until they choose one of those options and its guide to get there.
The first, the magnetic North Pole, is a shifting location. Its position changes according to the activity of the earth’s magnetic fields. As the earth spins on its axis, fluid iron near the earth’s core spins too – but at a different rate. The difference between the two produces magnetic currents, which point out the location of magnetic north. Changes in the rate of rotation (both of the earth and the core) determine the pole’s position, which moves up to 50 miles a day.
On the other hand, the geographic North Pole is a stationery position, marked by the earth’s axis of rotation. Known as “True North,” this point does not shift according to magnetic field. True North is clearly identified on maps by lines of longitude. It does not change. True North is steadfast and consistent.
Follow a Map … or a Compass?
The method of navigation you choose will determine your North Pole destination – whether it’s a changing point (a compass) or a stationery one (a map). A compass, magnetized and freely suspended, points to the magnetic North Pole, changing with fluctuations in the earth’s magnetic current. A map, however, uses clearly marked geographic lines of longitude to locate its unwavering North Pole location.
When it comes to parenting, you have a similar choice. The method of navigation you choose will determine how you parent.
God’s Word is a map pointing you in the direction of “True North” – a directional guide that never wavers off course and doesn’t shift with the times or troubles of our day. This stable, reliable guide leads you along the parenting journey, offering unshakable stability in a shaken world. With God’s Word, you won’t be confused by constant shifts. You won’t wander off course simply because of changes around you.
Other parenting approaches, like a compass, may get you close to your destination. But they change all the time.
Not Just a Guide, But a Relationship
God’s Word is a reliable parenting guide because it is the expression of Jesus Christ. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1, NIV). Instead of facing parenting challenges using our own abilities, we have our Savior and Creator walking with us and speaking to us through His Word. He is our True North. The Bible is our map.
As Rob and Kate turned to God’s Word and to Christ as their True North, they discovered a common reference point. Time after time, the couple returned to the Word when facing a parenting challenge, finding they could rely on it both individually and together.
God’s Word is the first reference point to draw on in your GPS parenting system. Surer than a reliable map … unaffected by storm … impervious to physical, social, or economic changes on earth … this True North offers a spiritual fixed point parents need to find their way.
The Word becomes a starting point for what it means to parent from your strengths … and a signal that always points to Jesus Christ.
More on Parenting From Your Strengths
Parenting From Your Strengths, Part 1: How a GPS Can Help You Be a Better Parent
Parenting From Your Strengths, Part 3: Your Strengths – Will You Bury, Boast, or Build with Them?
Parenting From Your Strengths, Part 4: The Benefits of Knowing Your Child’s Bent