It’s Father’s Day in the USA, and that’s got me thinking about parenting.
One day, God willing, you will parent. I’ll tell you from my limited experience so far, it’s the hardest best thing you will ever do. It’s hard because you love your children so much that it hurts, and it’s the best because you love your children so much that it hurts!
Honestly, aside from deciding to follow Jesus and marrying your Mum, you two are the best thing that has ever happened to me.
I know I’ve still got my training wheels on, but I have learned a few things from others and a little by myself, on parenting.
I want to share with you a few things that I have learned, a little wisdom that I pray might help you parent one day.
- Always show and tell your children how much you love them. Don’t assume they know it. Your silence will be deafening, you have to say it. With so many voices coming at your children from every angle, you have to repeatedly speak life into your kids. I try to tell you, my son, every day- “I”m proud of you.” and I try to tell you, my daughter, every day- “You are so beautiful.” Why? Because I know that the most significant issues in a person’s life often have roots in the words their father did or did not share with them, what they did or did not hear. So, try to make life that little bit easier for your kids, and speak positive affirmation into their lives, all the time. It is always a good time to praise your kids.
- Always parent with the Holy Spirit. You can’t be a great parent on your own, you can’t do anything of eternal significance on your own, you can’t even get to eternity, to the heavenly Father on your own- you need Jesus, and you need the guidance of the Holy Spirit. So… parent with the Holy Spirit. So often as a parent you will find yourself in unchartered waters, situations you’ve never come across. Good news though- the Holy Spirit has come across these situations, for thousands of years, so rely on His leading and guiding, not your own wisdom.
- Get all the brains and advice on parenting that you can. Being a great parent doesn’t happen effortlessly. You will have to read books on parenting, go to seminars, listen to podcasts, but it is so worth it. Invest in studying parenting.
- Be your child’s parent first, not their friend first. I know that sounds harsh- let me explain it, because you are my friends, my dearest friends. Your kids only have one of you. One mother or father. They will have many friends, but only one set of parents. If you try to be their friend and have them like you all the time, you won’t discipline them and you won’t tell them what they need to hear, you’ll only tell them what they want to hear. That’s not good parenting, like it says in Ephesians 4:15, you need to speak the truth in love. When times get tough, remember, you are a parent first, friend second. I’ve heard it said that a parent who parents their kids when they are children, are setting up a great friendship with their kids when they grow up. Be a parent first. It’s not easy to discipline and hold your ground, but in the long run it’s so worth it.
- Pay attention to your kids friends and their parents. Even at this young age, I’m seeing that your friends affect you. So know your kids friends and parents, as they are big influencers on your kids lives.
- Don’t try to replace God, rather point to Him. Often as a parent, it’s tempting to play “God”. What I mean is, we step in and try to rescue our kids, we tell our kids everything will be ok because we are here, or that we will never leave them. The reality is though, with love and discernment, we need to say these things about God, to our kids. We need to let God step in for out kids at times, so that when you are gone, when your kids move out, or you move away or pass, they will have the one that never changes, Jesus.
- Make outrageously awesome memories. A friend who’s Dad travelled months of the year, yet who still totally loved him and God, once gave me this advice- kids often remember the really good and really bad parts of their childhood. So, make the good memories, outrageously good. Take vacations and do really fun things, scream and laugh and make memories. When you play, play with all your might. When you cheer for your kids, cheer loudly! Minimize the bad, and really turn up the good. Those memories will serve your kids for years to come.
- Finally, and I can’t say this enough- pray. Pray for your kids, everyday. Don’t ever stop, that’s one of your responsibilities as a parent, don’t take it lightly.
Kids, I know it’s not going to be easy to parent, for me or for you. So, let your weakness point to God’s strength. Let your insufficiencies point to His sufficiencies, and rely on God to be with you in this parenting journey.
Love you so so much,
About the series:
I’m 29 right now, but soon I’ll be 30. 30 sounds so young to some, but to me right now, it’s feels old! It’s a real milestone.
It’s sounds funny to say this but the closer I get to 30 the more I think about what legacy I’ll leave my kids.
To be completely honest, the closer I get to 30, the more I realize I won’t always be here for them, one day I’ll go to heaven and get to be with Jesus face to face, and they’ll have to walk this earth with God in their hearts, the Holy Spirit as their comforter and guide, and Jesus as their example and intercessor, but they won’t have me here. So, for the times they might wonder, what would Dad have to say about this… I’m writing them a blog a day for 30 days. They might not need it now, but if they ever do, I hope it speaks to them.