Parenting is tough. So many “experts” claiming their way is the right way can leave us confused and with a complete lack of confidence in our parenting. A lot of us have kids and just figure it out as we go. We might read a book or start to read a book and never get around to finishing. I want to give you just 4 things you need to know about parenting. Here they are:
1. Parenting is disciple-making.
I’m starting to realize that I do a LOT of things like my dad. The other day, I asked Eliam why he hit his sister and he said was “I don’t know” so I replied, “I don’t know is not an answer”. That reply was the exact same phrase my dad would say when I would give that answer. It just came out so naturally because I had heard my dad say it so many times before.
When you parent children, you are discipling them. This is true whether you do it intentionally or not. Your kids will grow up and will resemble whoever you discipled them to be. The question isn’t are you discipling your kids, are you discipling your kids to look like Jesus?
2. Your child is a sinner.
Just yesterday I decided to take a trip to Walmart with both of children by myself. When I stopped to talk to someone I knew in the light bulb aisle my adorable children decided to throw everything out of the cart and run up and down the aisles. I would tell them to stop and they would… for 42 seconds and then they’d continue. They’d run out in front of people and it was embarrassing, to say the least. But it shouldn’t have been…
Your kids are sinners just like mine. They will be disobedient and they will not listen. We should not be surprised when they sin. We should expect it. We should be ready to handle it. It shouldn’t be embarrassing for our kids to do something we know they’re going to do. Oftentimes, we have way too high of expectations of our kids and that will cause so many issues. High expectations have a much harder fall than realistic expectations. Our expectations should not be based on ensuring we aren’t embarrassed in public or making sure they act the way we think they should. Instead, soak your household in the Gospel and expect God to save them because he loves to save the lost.
3. You will make mistakes and that’s okay.
I wish someone would have told me I’d be apologizing to my kids as much as I do. I end up saying something along the lines of “Hey bud, I’m sorry about earlier. Daddy reacted instead of responding and I’m sorry, would you forgive me?” Then my son almost always says “It’s okay Daddy.” To which I’ve learned to reply “No, it’s not okay bud. What I did wasn’t okay, would you forgive me?”
Look, you’re going to mess up this parenting thing. You’ll make mistakes and you’ll have to apologize. But please, please, please apologize and seek your kids’ forgiveness. That’s such a beautiful picture of the Gospel. Don’t be afraid to ask your kids for forgiveness early and often. They need to see a cycle of confession and repentance. The hope is that would be an ongoing cycle for the rest of their lives because it’s the cycle of all mature Christians.
4. You are not alone.
You have to know that everyone has their struggles with this thing. It’s not easy for anyone. People can throw up their pictures with their filters and pretend like they have it all together. But we all have hard days. Yes, some more than others. Some parents will be intentional about parenting, make a plan and execute it but there will still be days where they are just lucky they didn’t end up on the news.
And you should have a plan and you should be intentional but you shouldn’t do it alone. Life is better together. Get with friends, be honest about your struggles and celebrate the wins, no matter how small. Live life with other people. Don’t shut yourself up in your house, thinking spending more time with you and your kids alone will fix everything. God created us to live life together as one big family. Join in and build deep relationships. Your kids will thank you.
Looking for a church in Spruce Pine, NC so you’re not on this journey alone?
Check out The Grove Church and Seedlings, The Grove Church’s Kids Ministry! We use The Gospel Project for Kids to partner with parents to make disciples and transform the hearts of children. Each week, children will go chronologically through the Bible learning about Jesus. When you pick up your children, you’ll receive an Activity Sheet and Card detailing what your child learned and tips and ideas on how to continue the conversation at home. If you want to visit us with your children, you can go HERE and pre-register to make checking in your children much faster on Sunday.
We meet each Sunday at 9:30am for coffee and worship starts at 10:00am.