Being a parent is probably one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. About the time you realize what you should have done during the last phase of your children’s lives, they have moved on to the next phase.
Being a parent is very humbling.
I still have much to learn about being a parent. (Right now, I am trying to learn how to be a good parent to two adult children and their spouses.) When our children were young, I read, listened to audio/video presentations, and watched other parents in order to learn how to be a good parent. Charlotte and I learned a great deal by paying attention to what others did with their children. I can’t emphasize enough the simple practice of observing other parents and processing what you see. Periodically, I would ask some more experienced parents questions about child rearing.
In recent years, I have observed a few things that encourage me greatly. I can think of a number of younger couples who seem to excel at what they are doing as Christian parents. On the other hand, I have also observed some parenting that causes me great concern.
What makes me nervous?
A mom and dad who seem to think they have arrived in their understanding of parenting.There are some people who have been parents for two, three, or four years who almost seem to think they are a cut above other young parents. Sometimes they will have read one book on parenting and see that book as the definitive work on parenting. No reason to read anything else or listen to anyone else. After all, they have read the book (not referring to the Bible). Really? Such a spirit does not reflect advanced intelligence about parenting but naiveté or worse.
A mom and dad who have basically placed their child in charge. This family has become child-centered. Whatever this child wants, this child gets. Such child-centeredness is to the detriment of the child. This happens regardless of how many other people are inconvenienced by the desire of these parents to please this child at all costs.
How does a person navigate this parenting journey?
1. Pray for your parenting and for your child. If you aren’t praying for your children regularly, who is?
2. Be intentional about your children and their faith journey.
3. Lighten up! Every parent has messed up. OK, you lost your temper or you said that word. Maybe you were impatient with your child and snapped at him. Receive the grace of God and leave the past in his hands.
What have you learned by observing good parents?