Most Americans believe good mothers and fathers must be loving, supportive and protecting, but fewer see the necessity of parents having a commitment to Christianity or religion, according to a LifeWay Research survey released May 7. The survey, conducted in March, gauged opinions of the expected roles of parents at a time when Americans typically begin giving thought to Mother's Day and Father's Day.
According to the survey, "Loving" is the No. 1 characteristic deemed mandatory for both mothers and fathers (80+ percent) with "supporting," "protecting," "encouraging" and "involved" sharing the number two slot. Interestingly the characteristic most depicted in movies and on TV, "fun," garnered only 50% of the vote.
What the researchers found concerning was that Americans don't necessarily see as mandatory traits of good mothers and fathers are religious convictions, including being a committed Christian which showed at 35%. But that is not so surprising when we realize the "religious" and even "Christian" are concepts most Americans equate with legalistic and intolerant.
I am more inclined to see the results as Americans accepting the traits that best typify a follower of Jesus as being the important traits for a parent. It is difficult to be consistently loving, supportive, protecting, encouraging, and involved unless you are living your life to a higher standard than the natural requirements in the world. These qualities are not natural. They are normal to God's followers who set aside the natural for His normal.