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Perfect parents feel free to skip this one.
Imperfect parents, this Tip is a little bit longer than most but I believe we may find some hope here for when we mess up.
What about when we feel like failures with our kids?
What about when we lose our temper, say something hurtful or just plain blow it with our kids?
I should have something to say about this as much as I have failed as a parent.
I want to say three things that Carol and I have found great hope in. All three are found in the book of Romans.
First: Forgiveness is the key to any successful family. When our kids mess up we need to teach them grace, mercy, love and forgiveness. The same goes for us parents when we mess up.
God’s forgiveness is His perfect gift to us. Jesus Christ lived a life of 33 years of perfection, died the death that I should have died and rose from the dead to set me free from my failures and sin. His forgiveness is His perfect gift to set us free from guilt, shame and condemnation.
One of the greatest things Carol and I have done in our parenting is to admit when we are wrong, receive our Lord’s forgiveness and seek our children’s forgiveness.
God has set us free. We are forgiven.
“Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”
Second: God has always been in the business of building new and beautiful things out of our failures and mistakes. In other words, God is always redeeming failure. God builds, works and grows us through our failures and into a new day of hope and encouragement.
He can do this because Jesus is perfect and we are in Christ being conformed inwardly to Christ’s image, right in the middle of our imperfections.
God is constantly working for the good, of those in Christ. He does this by conforming us to His image through our sufferings and imperfections.
As we walk this life and often times stumble, God works and redeems us to make us more like His Son Jesus through His work in our lives. That’s really good news.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
Romans 8:28-29 (NIV)
And last: I once heard someone say this and I have not forgotten it, “All parents screw up their kids to one degree or another. Our job is to try not to screw them up too bad.”
We need to not live in fear. God picks up where we fall short. Our Heavenly Father is our Abba Father who is a perfect parent, and we have Him in our corner as Christian parents.
I found encouragement in that. Carol and I tried our hardest to parent our kids to the very best of our ability. We take parenting very seriously. As soon as our kids were adults, I found out that they talked to each other about what they wished we had done better.
Would you believe we were not hurt by this even a little bit. Carol and I both have great relationships with each of our kids and they have expressed to us time and time again that they believe we did a great job with them. And their talking to each other only confirms what we already knew, that we were not perfect parents, there is no such thing.
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
Romans 8:14-15 (NIV)
Forgiveness, Redemption and God (our Perfect Father) helping us by picking up where we fall short
These three have brought a lot of hope to Carol and I.
I hope they are an encouragement to you as well as you parent.
God bless you and your family.
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As the kids were growing up we did this thing once a week we called “Circle Time.”
We would sit in a circle and sing simple worship songs and then read the children’s Bible.
Often the kids would want to act out the story we were reading. Sometimes my wife and I would use props as we went through the weekly Bible story.
One week we read about God providing food for His people in the wilderness. The food was called Manna and it would appear on the ground each new morning.
We had the kids close their eyes and we threw pita bread all over the floor and when they opened their eyes they said,
What is it?” We said, “Manna!”
I didn’t know this until I was an adult that manna means; “what is it?”
Great times and a fun way to learn the stories of the Bible.
The above picture is from the famous Bible parable where the scientist and the boy bit by the spider created the Gorilla to catch the cat and the mouse.
One of my favorites from Second Hesitations.
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Try your best to learn to speak your child’s language.
I don’t mean keeping up with all the “in” sayings of the day. Those seemed to change every other week.
My multiple middle “schoolers” were into an animated TV series that they really wanted to share with my wife Carol and I. (yep we had four at one time and no I’m not sure schoolers is a word) Kelly: 6th grade. Stephen and Andrew: 7th grade and Josh: 8th grade.
At first I thought they wanted to share an episode with us.
They wanted to share all three seasons.
So Carol and I dove in and watched all three seasons. All 61 episodes.
When we finished the first time, the kids asked if we could start over and watch it again. By this time we were totally hooked.
What a fantastic experience! We loved it! From that point on my wife and I could speak that language. (Meaning we knew the ins and outs of “Avatar: The Last Air Bender”)
Great conversations about life and friendship. Great conversations about stuff that we don’t believe in like reincarnation. Great conversations about what different religions of the world believe that is different from Christianity. Great conversations about love.
My twin sons were and still are very much into roller coasters. So, Carol and I learned a great deal about different roller coasters across the country and then we traveled to ride many of them with our kids.
We learned how to speak the roller coaster language.
Find something that your child loves and learn that language.
I can’t say that Pokémon cards were my favorite but it meant the world to my kids.
If you like this Tip, please consider sharing it. Thank you, Brett Ray