I often get asked about when my passion for marriage began. It began with my parents, Hal and Linda Barringer. Watching their marriage not only made me want what they had, but shaped the marriage I have. Don’t get me wrong, as they’ll tell you, they are by no means the model of perfection (ever seen my dad BBQ in shorts, black socks, and dress shoes after church?), but their ability to stay humble and keep Christ at their center for 42 years is astounding.
Of the plethora of lessons I’ve learned from them, parenting has been a major theme they’ve mentored me in. Here’s one lesson they’ve taught me for every year they’ve been married.
- Jesus is our true north. Our family centers upon him.
- Sometimes your just your presence will speak louder than anything. (They never missed a football game)
- Effort is always rewarded above accomplishment.
- Love was never earned.
- Michigan NOT Michigan State.
- You can’t love your children the same. You may love them the same amount but you show it different because they are different!
- Somehow, when the grandkids showed up, I’ve taken a backseat to them.
- Every moment can be a teachable moment.
- Mom and dad NEVER sought to be my best friend. (I had enough friends…I needed parents.)
- You can survive ANYTHING. (Their handling of the most devastating moment a parent could ever experience has profoundly changed me and countless others.)
- Apologizing to your children for your human mistakes will make you a hero.
- Homes should be a source of laughter.
- Be in the Word. (Worn out bibles were a common sight in the house.)
- Church isn’t optional for us as a family. (When the doors were opened, Kid’s Church or not, we were there.)
- Hard work is important to develop at the youngest of ages.
- It’s impossible to say “I’m proud of you” enough to your kids.
- Having a reputation of being the only dad who’ll QB for the neighborhood kid’s football game is a cool thing to have.
- Serving your church community is what you do. Be the first to volunteer.
- Don’t be naive about your children. (The words “my kid would never do that” didn’t come from their mouth. Because Rachael and I are human, they always knew we were capable of doing wrong.)
- Forgiveness is liberating.
- Your kids need to hear you pray over them in locations other than the dinner table.
- Tithing wasn’t optional. My first 10% belonged to Jesus.
- Lying can get your mouth washed out with soap.
- I can never give them too many grandkids.
- Dad’s first ministry was to his wife.
- Sickness demanded prayer and anointing oil (from dad’s key chain).
- Trying to steal a taste of turkey while dad is carving it without getting stabbed is a part of Thanksgiving.
- Phone calls with mom rarely end without an “I love you.”
- The only future that mattered was that I was serving the Lord. (My vocation mattered less than my direction.)
- I’m not psychologically damaged because I was spanked. (If I had a “timeout,” it was after I was spanked.)
- Mom had more grace with report cards. (It’s why dad made the rule that report cards came to him first.)
- Giving to missions wasn’t optional.
- They grew their marriage to outlast the kid’s time in the home.
- No human being exists that can out encourage mom and dad.
- Dedication in the dictionary says, “See Hal and Linda Barringer.”
- Kids need to see their parents show affection to each other (verbal and physical).
- Kids need to receive affection from their parents (verbal and physical).
- Dad always stood in defense of mom to us. (Talking back to her was never tolerated.)
- Humility means we step back and let God take the curtain call.
- Don’t wait till tomorrow to spend time with your children.
- Crowns and accolades belong at the feet of Jesus.
- Live out a Romans 8 philosophy of parenting: I may disappoint my parents with my actions, but nothing I do as their child will stop them from loving me.
To my parents, who are celebrating 42 years together, I say congrats. I love you more than you’ll ever comprehend.
Thanks for letting me ramble for the past 39 years and 9 months…
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