Yesterday at C3, Angie and I rolled through a few things we’ve learned and are learning in 25 plus years of being parents. We are by no means experts, these are just some of the things that we have come to believe are valuable. We are still learning daily and much of what we’ve learned has come from many mistakes we’ve made. Here are a few insights when it comes to parenting:
Today matters. Because of the busyness in life, it’s easy to think about putting things off until tomorrow, or next weekend or next summer. Then, you wake up one day and your kids are grown. Every single day matters. Someone has said, “the days are long but the years are short”. So true. If I could go back in time I would live that truth daily and seize the opportunities that each day brings.
The father sets the tone of honoring the mother. As a Dad, my kids will reflect how I honor their Mom. My sons will learn how to honor women and my daughters will be taught what to expect from a man and as a result will quickly recognize it when they are not being honored in friendships and dating relationships. The opposite is equally true… the mother sets the tone of honoring the father.
Don’t bail them out, let them figure it out. My tendency is to quickly rush in to “fix” things my kids are dealing with. I’ve come to believe it would be far more beneficial to them if I had instead had conversations with them about how they could handle it when life is unfair or something goes wrong. To teach them to think through issues and process how best to navigate circumstances helps them grow more healthy.
In order to parent a child you have to know the child. Each of our four kids have very unique personalities. Taking the time to know each one and how they think and process life only helps a parent help their kids develop into who they are meant to be even more.
Don’t stop trying. It’s easy as our kids get older to think, “I’ve blown it in so many ways, it’s too late now”. However, the Biblical pattern for success has always been consistency. Just keep trying. Do the next wise thing. It’s never too late to become better.
Look for opportunities to be positive. We live in a critical world. Our kids will quickly learn how harsh that reality is. The will face the betrayal of friends and the lack of authenticity in many relationships. They will hear many criticisms each day. As a parent we have opportunity to build them up each day. Be intentional in looking for genuine things to compliment and ways to encourage them.
Risk how they feel about you in the moment for who they will be for a lifetime. No one likes confrontation. Yet, in relationships there are times we have to address issues. As a parent, we’re responsible to “train” and “rebuke” and “correct” our kids. Those conversations should be had with compassion yet some will be firm. They may be upset with us in the moment and not like what we’re saying but it can help shape them to become better and benefit them the rest of their lives.
Teach them to forgive. As parents our kids will learn many things from us. I believe among the most important is how to forgive. I think we begin teaching them that in how we forgive them when they mess up. This has nothing to do with a lack of necessary consequences, but everything to do with the heart and how things are communicated.
Next weekend we wrap up the “Future Family” series. Invite someone to join you and discover the difference that is C3!