*DISCLAIMER: Please know that I am not saying this because I think I am a perfect parent. I miss the mark daily! However, I do believe that these are ageless and priceless principles that can keep us all on track as we seek to be the parents God designed us to be! Every word I share is biblical and even practical ways to stay on track in your parenting journey!
#1 EVERY CHILD IS UNIQUE GIFT FROM GOD.
I have four boys, but each of them have entirely different personalities. I have to get to know each child’s skill set, interest, and mindset in order to connect with them in a way they understand. My job is not to control everything they do, but to help them reach their full God-give potential. Don’t ever try to live out your dreams and wishes through your children. Don’t ever push them into a sport, career, or relationship just because it’s what you want. In most all cases your plans will back fire on you. Let them be who God made them to be and look forward to what God is going to do through them in this life.
#2 LOVE IS BEST SPELLED T.I.M.E.
Your kids must have no doubt that you love them and that they are worth your time. If you are too busy to spend time with your kids then you are too busy. Most of us never feel like there are enough hours in the day to do all that we would like to do with our kids. What is most important is that we consistently spend quality one on one time with each child. This lets them know they have not been forgotten, are dearly loved, and it will keep the communication lines open as they grow up. This should not change as they get older, but becomes even more important as it is real easy to go your separate ways. Many parents quit doing the little things that matter as their kids get older and therefore their hearts grow apart from one another. Love is the bridge to effective communication and parenting.
#3 ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS…
I spent 11 years as a youth pastor and I once had a parent ask me the following question. What is the hardest thing to deal with as a youth worker? I said kindly, “Parents who tell their kids to do one thing while they’re doing another! It never works. Your words will never override your example. Your words will only carry weight when accompanied by your example. For sure this true statement scares me the most. Statistics say that 80% of children will return back to the roots of they learned at home. From how we treat our spouse, other people, and especially them throughout the years we are making lasting impressions. Daily we must ask ourselves, what kind of men and women will my children be if they follow my example?
#4 EVERY MOMENT MATTERS
Every age is precious and presents opportunity. I’ve got to do the best I can do while I can do it. At every point in your child’s life they need you to be present, alert, and seeking to make the most of the times you have together. From cheering them on at the ball game to talking with them late at night the first time their heart is broken it all matters. Seize the moment and don’t ever overlook their feelings or perspective.
#5 YOU HAVE TO LEAD THEM……
A lot parents make sure their children have a roof over their heads, food on the table, and that they don’t play in the road. But, very few parents have an intentional plan for leading their children in the way they should go. Fortunately, we do have a manual and its call the Bible. We must allow it to lead us, our parenting, and we must encourage our children to let it lead them. We can’t expect the school house or the church house to raise our children. Parents, we must take time along life’s way to instruct and impress upon our children how God has designed for us to live. Trust me, your children will either develop naturally a world view of things or a God view of things. The world’s view will lead them to major disappointment and countless heart aches. God’s view will point them in the right direction and help them keep life in the right perspective.
#6 PARENTING IS A JOURNEY……
I don’t know about you but one day of parenting wears my wife and I completely out. Diapers, baths, school, work, sports, homework, supper, bedtime (OH WHAT FUN), and then you get to wake up tomorrow and start all over again. We all must remember that we are on a journey and that parenting is a daily learning and growing process for us and the kids. Don’t judge things by what you see today, but keep pressing forward on your parenthood journey. Do your best every day and make adjustments as necessary.
#7 LEAVE THE RESULTS WITH GOD….
After you’ve done your best to lead them God’s way you have to trust God completely with them. When you drop them off at school, when they go off to school, when they go out with friends, when they get married, and when they reach that age where they have to take responsibility for themselves you have to let God be God. You continue to make yourself available, coach them when you can, but then you have to pray and trust God to continue to develop them into all that He and you want them to be.