I am not a perfect parent. You aren’t either. In my attempts to be a father who “gets in right” every time, I often become my worst critic. We’re probably walking down the same journey, but with different children. In all that seems to go wrong with my parenting skills (or lack of), I have tried to have one simple goal.
Be a father who points my kids to the cross of Jesus Christ.
I have believed for a long time that we either point our kids to Jesus or we point them away from Jesus. There is no middle option on this one. No multiple choice answer. One or the other.
Here are some words of wisdom from a ministry colleague, “Chris, your goal isn’t to raise good kids. Your goal is to raise Godly adults.”
Our oldest children is 17, which means we haven’t seen the end results. I’ll be the first to admit we are not parenting experts. However, it means we are still in the training phase of life.
I offer five principles that will help all of us raise Godly adults.
First, make your children read their Bibles. I know our sons and daughters need reminders to spend time with God because moms and dads need reminders. If you follow through with Bible reading, you should make sure your children see you read your Bible. You might even try a family reading plan, like this one.
Second, lead some family spiritual time outside of church. I’m not going to tell you do something every day, because we don’t. I will tell you there is a variety to choose from. You can pray together as a family and you will probably need to teach your children how to pray. You can watch a church service. You can sing songs together. You can take a cell phone Sabbath. The options are only limited by your creativity.
Third, take your family on a mission trip. Mission trips enhance the transformation process of our lives. I think it would be great if your family could travel, but it’s not required to make this one happen. You can find a food pantry and volunteer. You can do yard work for a widow in your church. You can bake cookies for your neighbors. You can reach out in your community in many different ways.
Fourth, demonstrate authentic worship. Over the past few years, I have learned to define authentic worship as worship that engages your senses. Mark 12:30 says “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” I think this verse describes a person who authentically worships. This doesn’t mean you have to raise your hands, jump up and down, or even clap. However, if our children see us more emotionally engaged during a sporting event than a worship service, we might not be authentically worshipping our God.
Fifth, learn how to be a better parent. I love to read, so books on parenting are a great help to me. You can also find another couple in your church to learn how they parented their children. You can glean much wisdom from parents who persevered through your current season of life.
Finally, God has poured into you all the grace you need to parent well today. Don’t worry about tomorrow. God will pour into you enough grace for tomorrow.