Before becoming a parent, I can remember watching parents of young children and saying things to myself like, “My kids will never act that way”, or “I won’t ever let my child get away with that.” Can you relate?
In those early years prior to actually becoming a parent, it was very easy to be an “expert” in parenting and know all that there was to know about how to raise kids right. I could have easily counseled parents if they’d have just trusted me (and my single, childless self—lol). In fact, I think I may have even tried a time or two to coach my own parents in how to raise my younger sisters.
But my oh my, how the tables turn when you actually have children of your own and find out that your own kids are as bent toward foolishness (Prov. 22:15) as everyone else’s, whose parents just “didn’t have it all together.”
The longer I’ve been a parent, the less that I feel I know about being a great parent, and the less qualified I feel to be a parent at all. Because there is so much to learn around every new corner and with every new age and stage. Parenting is a never-ending series of new challenges and choices.
“Remind me, why am I the one writing this blog?”…
I have the privilege of writing this parenting blog about how to parent your children God’s way, and I love doing it. Yet I often feel so very inadequate just to be the godly parent that my own children need me to be on a daily basis.
So many times I don’t know what to do in my own family. So many times I mess up and don’t get things right. So many times I fall short of being the parent they need me to be.
Yes, I know the rights and wrongs of parenting, as do you, but struggle just the same to actually be consistent to do them. I get frustrated, irritable, impatient, selfish, tired and lazy. Just ask my wife and kids!
Sometimes I hurt my family’s feelings. I’m sometimes too harsh. I’m sometimes too lenient. I don’t always give as much time to my kids as I should. I struggle to be consistent in discipline. Sometimes I get so frustrated at my inability to be all that I want to be and all that God and my family deserves that I be as a husband and a father.
All in all, I find that I can’t be successful at this parenting thing on my own…and yet, that’s when I actually succeed. You see, it’s in those times when I realize that I can’t be the parent that my kids need me to be…that I actually become a better parent than what I just was.
I am my best self as a parent when I simply admit that I don’t have it all together, I don’t always know what to do, and I need the constant help and grace of God in my daily life to be the godly parent He has called me to be.
A + B doesn’t always = C
Yes, there are parenting principles that work and that need to be followed and obeyed, yet there is no foolproof A+B=C formula that guarantees our desired results in our kids every single time, in every single circumstance, or in every single family.
I need to daily depend upon the grace of God and the guidance of His Holy Spirit in my life. Because there are things that happen in my family and decisions I have to make that no amount of biblical or parenting knowledge could every prepare me for.
Of all things in life, I believe that parenting is one of God’s ways of revealing to us our own insufficiency and our utmost dependency upon Him.
And parenting should be one of the greatest things in life that drives us to our knees. It ought to cause us to plead with God for wisdom and direction as we we take seriously the responsibility of raising and forming little human lives.
I became a better parent the day I realized…
While I’m not the parent that I want to be or fully need to be, I became a better parent the day I realized that:
- I don’t know how to be a good and godly parent on my own.
- I need more of God and less of me in my parenting.
- I cannot ultimately control who and what my children become.
- I am helpless and hopeless as a parent apart from the grace of God.
Apart from Him, no matter what I do and no matter what I know, I can quickly become a parenting failure and mess up this parenting thing big-time. But with Him, I can do all things through Christ.
The day I became a better parent was the day I began to trust more than I try, pray more than I push, and quit trying to act like l’ve got it all together. Because I don’t. I never will. And neither will you. And the sooner we realize it, the better parents we will become.
II Corinthians 12:10 – Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities…for when I am weak, then am I strong.
This article originally appeared here.