18 Parenting Thoughts on Cammi 18th Birthday

Often, I hit the blogosphere when a significant day happens for the family. Today is my daughter’s 18th birthday. I’m trying to let that sink in.  Cammi is 18….I have an 18-year-old.

*pause for a moment of silence for this parent.

Okay. I’m back. [deep breath]

As usual, theses moments cause you to reflect upon how well you’ve done pointing this child in the right direction. But isn’t that what parenting is all about? Parenting is less about controlling your child’s world and more about setting them up to be great adults in this world.

I can’t say we are perfect parents, but Anne and I have done our best. Don’t get me wrong, our parenting isn’t done in the least bit. But there is a different approach we have with our “adult child” than we do with our 15 year old (Ethan).

This week has been all about reflection. The very human side is to say, “what should I have done better.” And if you follow my blog, you know that I have zero issue speaking from my massive list of faults and mistakes. But I felt a bit of a “heart check” in this blog. So I thought I’d share some lessons that have come from “wins” as a parent. It’s not about bragging or being prideful but hoping to encourage some young parents in their approach to their kids growing up.

So I’d thought I’d give you 18 lessons that came from “wins” in parenting.

  1. Jesus is first.
    • We draw from what we understand in Christ. It’s been 18 years of not just pointing her but doing our best to model this. Sometimes we succeed; sometimes we fail. But our heart is to live with Jesus in the center of our lives.
  2. Daddy-daughter dates are mandatory. 
    • Cammi has been using chopsticks for almost 18 years. Why? We started something when she was barely old enough to hold chopsticks. To every dad: If you date your daughter before she’s old enough to date, she’ll be better prepared for dating. 
  3. We find the “funny.”
    • I understand that life can be serious, but life is too short not to laugh and enjoy yourself. It takes zero effort to be critical; it takes a determined heart to work past the negative and bring out the joyful.
  4. The pain of failure can be very good.
    • It’s not that I want my kids to fail, but I didn’t protect them from failure. They needed to experience it and the pain from it. My job: Be there to help them navigate through it. Really, isn’t that what the Lord does with us?
  5. Talk about everything. 
    • If the only time you talk to your kids is when they are in trouble or when you want information, they’ll pick up that you are only interested in them when it suits you. Ask about their day. Ask about their interests.
  6. Different approaches with different kids.
    • We learned to raise our kids with different approaches because, well, they’re different. It’s not about loving one more than the other. It’s about strategy to effectively point them toward Jesus and maturity.
  7. Notifications on everything.
    • Whatever social media my kids are on, I’m on. And if they post, I get notifications. It’s not about control but accountability.
  8. Other authorities are necessary.
    • I am my kids parent and pastor so they need other authorities to speak into them. AND those authorities need me to back off and let them be that voice in my kid’s life.
  9. They SEE and HEAR a united front.
    • We don’t allow the kids to divide us. They know they cannot pin one of us against the other. They don’t hear us talk bad about the other. We are one.
  10. Discipline is from, and followed with, a heart of love.
    • Ask Cammi, if she’s been disciplined, a short time after I’ve gone into her room to talk, hug, and pray. And my prayer has been the same for 18 years, “Lord, help Cammi be a better little girl, help daddy be a better daddy. We both need help. We need You.”
  11. Be at their “stuff.” 
    • If it’s a sports team, dance, art competition, band, etc. be at it all. I don’t care if it isn’t “your cup of tea.” Your presence matters.
  12. My kids are capable of mistakes. 
    • I’m definitely not the parent who says, “My kid will never do that.” Yet my kids are not guilty till proven guilty. We just know that we need to get the truth and respond in an appropriate way.
  13. Get their input. 
    • We call “family meetings” and get their input on things about the family. They don’t have a vote per sé, but they do have a voice.
  14. Allow them to see mistakes and responses. 
    • One of my favorite memories of my dad was him apologizing to me for a mistake he made. And that’s a memory I want my kids to have of me.
  15. Look to serve. 
    •  When we see someone in need, we look to serve first instead of deferring it to someone else to help. Nobody may every know what was done, but that doesn’t matter. We do things for the audience of One.
  16. Conviction > guilt. 
    • Guilt is manipulation. And because God doesn’t work that way, we don’t. It’s all about working in the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
  17. “Let them fight.” 
    • Might be my favorite line from “Godzilla.” But we’ve learned to let our kids work out their own stuff up to a certain degree. Obviously, we don’t want them hitting each other, but we also want them to learn how to handle conflict.
  18. Love is relentless.
    • Regardless of their decisions or directions, they know that we’ll love them with the same level of relentless of that Christ has shown us.

Love all of you parents out there. I’m cheering for you!!!

I love you Cammi. You will never know how much our daddy-daughter dates have meant to me. I’ll always have a set of chopsticks at home for you with an ear ready to listen. As I watch you serve others, I fight back tears in wonderment at how God has grown you. I’m glad I had a hand in it, but in reality, it’s because you’ve opened up your heart to Jesus.  You are everything I prayed for and so much more. I love you.

Encourage effort.
Celebrate progress.
Feed hope.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

BTW: Check out my book. Click on the link below.

15 Parenting Thoughts on Ethan’s 15th Birthday

I have a habit of blogging on special days for the family. Perhaps, the moment demands reflection and thought. And like most occasions, when I start processing things, I journal in order to frame together what is stirring in me.

Today is my son’s 15th birthday. As usual, theses moments in your children cause you to reflect upon the parenting job you’ve done and are still doing. I’m sure something will stir in a few weeks when Cammi turns 18. But till then, I thought on Ethan’s 15th birthday, I’d give 15 parenting tips I’ve learned over the past decade and a half.

  1. It’s more important for my kids to see Jesus in me than anything else.
    • Kids need to see how Jesus is lived out, not inside the church, but outside of it. Even though I am my kid’s lead pastor, they need to see Jesus in me in our home MORE than from the iPad stand I preach from.
  2. My children are not beyond a bad decision.
    • To be blunt, I don’t want to parent in a way that says, “my kid would never do that.” Yet I don’t believe they’re always guilty. My kids are capable of bad decisions because, well, they’re human.
  3. Own mistakes in front of your kids. 
    • If you’re kids never see you make a mistake, it makes their mistakes look that much worse as they’ll compare to the “perfection” they’re always exposed to. Show your kids how to be humble in the face of something you’ve not done correctly. They should hear the words, “I’m sorry” and “Please forgive me.”
  4. Don’t do anything alone.
    • From a task around the house to a trip to the store. I’ll get one of my kids to go with me to do whatever is on my list of things to do. It’s not about having another hand for the project/task, it’s about the time and connection of just being together.
  5. Work isn’t lethal.
    • Work ethic is a wonderful thing; Entitlement is not. I believe when we foster a good work ethic, we’re set our children up for success.
  6. Work to find a connection. 
    • Don’t allow a mentality of “my kid are too different” prevent you from discovering a way to connect. Ethan doesn’t like most sports (which breaks my heart) and he isn’t the most active kid. But I decided years ago we’d “try” a number of things and see what sticks. Going action movies stuck. Going to hockey games stuck. Going hiking (which I’ve never done before) stuck.
  7. Physical touch is healthier than you realize.
    • UCLA did a study that says every human being needs 8-10 meaningful touches a day. I love hugging my kids randomly. When I encourage them, I’ll do a little side-hug. Sometimes, I’ll walk up behind them and put my hands on their shoulders to ask them about their day. Appropriate physical touch helps them to not go looking for it in inappropriate ways.
  8. My marriage is more important than they are. 
    • I always have a panicky parent contact me after I say or blog about this. Statement like this don’t mean we don’t care for our kids. But they NEED to see your marriage as a priority. It sets them up for a healthy marriage.
  9. Value their interests. 
    • As much as sports/competition are important to me, I cannot force that upon my children. In the same breath, I cannot allow my unfamiliarity of their interests to make me apathetic or unfeeling to them. When you pull your attention away from what’s important to your child, you’re not rejecting the activity, you’re rejecting the child.
  10. Effort and commitment > achievement.
    • I’m not a “give a medal to all of the kids” type of parent. But my being proud of my kids isn’t based upon a grade nor an achievement. Making effort and following through on commitment is what we ask of them. The rest is gravy.
  11. Position other voices of authority.
    • My kids need other voices in their lives. For that reason, I really didn’t want to coach my kids as I wanted them to have other voices of authority besides mine. If I did, I wanted to serve under a “head coach” as to make sure the kids saw someone else in authority over them (and me). I will be eternally grateful for those Kids Pastors, Youth Pastors, small group teachers, and youth leaders who’ve poured into my kids.
  12. Have a united front.
    • Anne and I disagree on a variety of things. We’ve disagreed in front of our kids but not on major issues. We work hard to make sure that our kids see a united couple when it comes to the big decisions. We also work hard to support each other when one of us isn’t around.
  13. Seek and value their input.
    • I don’t ask my kids input to pander to them. I legitimately want to know they’re opinion on a number of subjects. Let them own some decisions for the home even on stuff that they don’t necessarily care about. To me, it’s not about the actual decision as much as what the process does: helps them to know that they are a valued member of the home.
  14. Every event is a learning opportunity. 
    • When my kids are processing things, they don’t always deal with them appropriately. So when things “cool down” we have a “sit down.” I usually sit on the edge of their bed and we walk through what happened and I ask the question, “what did you learn?” I want to know, now that everything is over, what they could have done better to handle things. If they own their issues, they’ll own the growth that’ll come from them.
  15. Discipleship is my responsibility. 
    • I pour out from what is being poured into me. As much as I love the Godly voices in my kid’s lives, it should be in addition to what I am doing, not supplementing what I’m not doing.

As always, I look to the words of Paul who said,

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. Philippians 3:12

I’m still working on these as well as learning new lessons for later lists. I’m still striving to be the example they need. I know my parenting will never stop, but I want to make the most of every opportunity I have with them.

I love you Ethan. My heart is for you to be a much greater man of God than I could have ever dreamed for you to be. Thanks for being you. Thanks for your patience with me. Thanks for being such a great son.

 

 

Love all of you parents out there. I’m cheering for you!!!

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad: 42 lessons they taught me about parenting.

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.

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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. 

  1. Jesus is our true north.  Our family centers upon him. 
  2. Sometimes your just your presence will speak louder than anything. (They never missed a football game)
  3. Effort is always rewarded above accomplishment. 
  4. Love was never earned.
  5. Michigan NOT Michigan State.
  6. You can’t love your children the same.  You may love them the same amount but you show it different because they are different!
  7. Somehow, when the grandkids showed up, I’ve taken a backseat to them.
  8. Every moment can be a teachable moment. 
  9. Mom and dad NEVER sought to be my best friend. (I had enough friends…I needed parents.) 
  10. You can survive ANYTHING. (Their handling of the most devastating moment a parent could ever experience has profoundly changed me and countless others.) 1926778_10152316472773537_6248583889657699656_n
  11. Apologizing to your children for your human mistakes will make you a hero. 
  12. Homes should be a source of laughter.
  13. Be in the Word. (Worn out bibles were a common sight in the house.)
  14. Church isn’t optional for us as a family. (When the doors were opened, Kid’s Church or not, we were there.)
  15. Hard work is important to develop at the youngest of ages.
  16. It’s impossible to say “I’m proud of you” enough to your kids. 
  17. Having a reputation of being the only dad who’ll QB for the neighborhood kid’s football game is a cool thing to have.
  18. Serving your church community is what you do.  Be the first to volunteer.
  19. 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.)
  20. Forgiveness is liberating.
  21. Your kids need to hear you pray over them in locations other than the dinner table. 
  22. Tithing wasn’t optional. My first 10% belonged to Jesus. 
  23. Lying can get your mouth washed out with soap.
  24. I can never give them too many grandkids. 
  25. Dad’s first ministry was to his wife.
  26. Sickness demanded prayer and anointing oil (from dad’s key chain). 
  27. Trying to steal a taste of turkey while dad is carving it without getting stabbed is a part of Thanksgiving.
  28. Phone calls with mom rarely end without an “I love you.” 
  29. The only future that mattered was that I was serving the Lord. (My vocation mattered less than my direction.)
  30. I’m not psychologically damaged because I was spanked. (If I had a “timeout,” it was after I was spanked.)
  31. Mom had more grace with report cards.  (It’s why dad made the rule that report cards came to him first.)
  32. Giving to missions wasn’t optional.
  33. They grew their marriage to outlast the kid’s time in the home.
  34. No human being exists that can out encourage mom and dad. 
  35. Dedication in the dictionary says, “See Hal and Linda Barringer.”
  36. Kids need to see their parents show affection to each other (verbal and physical). 
  37. Kids need to receive affection from their parents (verbal and physical). 
  38. Dad always stood in defense of mom to us.  (Talking back to her was never tolerated.)
  39. Humility means we step back and let God take the curtain call. 
  40. Don’t wait till tomorrow to spend time with your children.
  41. Crowns and accolades belong at the feet of Jesus.
  42. 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…

 

From the Sermon Cutting Room Floor: The Devil Made Me Do part 2

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It’s what pastors do.  We reflect on what we preached.  The tough side is to not be your biggest critic and yet, you still are. You ponder what you said and what you didn’t say.  Monday is a chance to go over twitter and facebook to see some of the posts.  Here’s a few from yesterday’s message “The Devil Made Me Do It”:

Part of the sermon-building process is being a steward of the time given.  The old-school believer would say, “Don’t worry about time.”  I think that’s the lazy pastors way of not being disciplined enough to carefully and prayerfully weight out what needs to be said in the appropriate time. Not only do we (pastors) need to be better with our studying, but we need to remember people’s attention span and retention ability is limited far less than we give our sermon-giving-abilities credit for.  My goal is to give a “meal” to be able to enjoy and digest and not a smorgasbord that so fills an individual that he/she doesn’t know what they received.

I tend to over prepare leading into the weekend of a message.  In saying that, there’s a lot left on the “cutting room floor” of my study.  There are parts of the message that never get said or stated in our effort to be a good steward of my opportunity on Sunday.  One part in particular continues to sit with me that I cannot let go of.

The devil doesn’t make us do anything.  We make the choices. We choose to go the opposite direction and we love to shift the blame on others, including the devil, to escape having to take responsibility for our own actions.   We hit hard the idea of flirting with our sin (Genesis 13).  And as we continue to flirt with sin we rationalize what are doing (Genesis 14).  That flows into us getting transformed by our decisions (Genesis 19) that ultimately leads to destruction (Genesis 19).

What has stuck with me is the effect of us as parents and how our flirting, rationalizing, and transforming can completely devastate our children.  Further reading into the story of Lot reveals Lot living homeless in a cave with his daughters.  He’s lost his wife.   They’ve lost their husbands-to-be.  Their plot: Get dad drunk and sleep with him to conceive children to preserve the bloodline.

Where would they get the idea that this is at all permissible? My only thought was that they learned it in the place where they resided for 10+ years: Sodom. I can’t imagine what they heard and/or saw in that city. But a father’s decision over a decade before became the foundation for the growth and maturity (or lack thereof) of his children.

Someone told me something years ago: What you do in moderation, your kids will do in excess.

Why did I stress getting closer to Jesus?  More than just the personal effects that come,  there is a parental reaction that happens to our children that produces a model for them to follow and pattern their lives after.  Do all of our children make the best decisions when they hit graduation?  Not at all.  I wish it were the case. Our job as parents isn’t to make the decisions for them.  Our job is to set them up to take the right paths.  Our job is to point the way to Jesus.  From the way we talk to our children and are affectionate with them to the atmosphere we have in our homes, we are providing opportunity to encourage or discourage our children to be followers of Christ.

Lot forgot that.  Maybe he was seduced by the beauty of the land (Genesis 13:10-11).  Maybe he was excited about getting out from underneath Abram’s authority and influence. But his move toward Sodom cost him everything. And this incestuous relationship ended up haunting Israel for years to come (Ammonites and Moabites).

This story hit me hard as a parent. It rocked my world and has drawn me to want to be closer to Christ than I have ever been.  I need more of Him in my life because, well, I need him.  I need his fullness to, daily, pour into my life. But beyond me, I have a marriage and a family to lead.  And if I chose to go after Christ, I set my marriage and my family up to do the same.  If I choose to flirt with “Sodom”, I am setting up my marriage and family for consequences that I cannot possibly fathom.

I don’t type this out to hang guilt on anyone’s shoulders.  I do it to challenge every parent.

If you find yourself having moved toward “Sodom”, turn toward Jesus.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

As you do that, share the grace and mercy you’ve received with your family.  Let your kids hear what Christ has done in your life and let them see you live it out in your home.  It will mark their lives and set them up for success.

Remember: What you do in moderation, your kids will do in excess.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Confessions of a Marriage Blogger: Part 2 “Our kids are for sale.”

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We started a series of marriage blogs last week. If you missed last week, check out Confessions of a Marriage Blogger: Part 1 “We irritate each other”.

I started off by telling my own feelings about how I felt like marriage blog and book writers lived in a Ken and Barbie world of perfection.  I’m not afraid to admit how wrong I was (it wasn’t the first time and won’t be the last time). But my thrust behind this series to help aid others in the marital cancer called “comparison”. Comparing causes a “double-jeopardy” of misery.  You get hit on a personal level and then you bring that into your marriage.  You think it won’t happen that way. You try to keep it to yourself.  But the problem resides in the oneness of marriage. When something effects you.  It WILL affect your spouse. Remember: The two became one when you were married (Genesis 2:24).  Again, stop comparing your marital journey with someone else’s trek. 

Part 2 – “Our kids are for sale.” 

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(Disclaimer for people with no sense of humor: I don’t really want to sell my kids.)

As a kid, I was a huge fan of the poet Shel Silverstein. Having a little sister, there was one poem in particular that I was very fond of.  The poem, “For Sale” was all about an older brother trying to sell off his younger sibling. The lines, “One sister for sale! One crying and spying young sister for sale! I’m really not kidding, So who’ll start the bidding?” should tell you enough about his frustration with her.  She “spies” and “cries” and thus must be removed and, according to the poem, to anyone who will bid.  I didn’t always feel that way about my sister.  I know I frustrated her and would bet she probably wishes she could’ve sold me a time or two.  Hey, it’s what us siblings do.

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I’m a pastor.  I’m a marriage blogger.  I love my two children Camryn and Ethan more than you can imagine.  Some boys want to grow up and be a fire fighter, police officer, or an astronaut.  I wanted to be a dad when I grew up.

But…

Sometimes they tick me off.
Sometimes, when I’ve had a long day, I lose my cool way to easily with them.
Sometimes I feel like a failure as a parent.
Sometimes I’m so frustrated with them find myself counting down the days to “empty nest” (7 1/2 years).
Sometimes I wonder if I have a leg to stand in helping (through blogging, preaching, and counseling) people with their parenting skills.

But I can’t be the only one to feel this way.

When I survey the disagreements and the frustrations that we have with our kids, and of course, they have with us, I begin to see some issues:

I see too much of me. What Anne and I discovered is some of the most frustrating things is that we see is…well…US. Cammi shows a lot of Anne.  Ethan shows a lot of me.  The question we have to keep asking ourselves: Is it their actions that are causing the conflict or are we seeing reminders of us? It has been said that opposites attract.  Perhaps it’s why moms and sons are closer and dads and daughters are so connected.  Seeing me in my kids, many times, is so irritating, not because they’re doing something wrong, it goes deeper into me seeing something in myself that needs correcting.

Advice: When confrontation starts up with the kids, Anne and I will stop each other and simply say “he/she’s being you.”  We’re not doing that to take a jab at the other.  We do it to remind each other to take a breath and realize that what we are confronting more within the moment is NOT our children but ourselves. When I’m confronted with myself, it forces me to deal with “ME”. Take a moment to think and reflect upon what the confrontation is really about. Ask Christ for healing in your own life.  Ask your kids for forgiveness for your impatience.  Share your story with them and how you’ve grown through Christ.  Rev. 12:11 says, “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” Help your kids be an overcomer by allowing Christ into your conflict and let your testimony lead them to freedom.

I’m too protective of them. Every parent wants to save their children from the pain and frustrations that they, themselves, experienced. We try to stay two or three steps ahead and prepare the way for them as to make sure we can keep them from all of the faults, mishaps, and challenges we had to face. This is where, when I was youth pastoring, I used to categorize some parents as “helicopter parents”. They are the ones that constantly hover over their kids and can’t let them grow up. Most parents can be uber controlling over their children as their way of protecting them from any type of pain (physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental).

Advice: It’s very hard to admit, especially when it comes to our kids, but pain is necessary. Studies have shown that in this day of so many antibacterial soaps and lotions,  we are actually destroying the immune systems of our children. Without them being able to confront bacteria, their immune systems can’t develop the strength to fight. Could that same principle be in play when we don’t allow our kids to fail or go through “painful” moments?  What we need to teach them is HOW to make decisions and then let them MAKE the decisions. If they succeed: praise the effort and celebrate with them.  If they fail: praise the effort and teach them how to grow from failure. Proverbs 24:16 reminds us “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.” We will “fall”.  But help your kids know how to get up and grow.

I’m dictating and not leading. As a dictator over the home, there is no responsibility for me to live and/or lead in any way. It’s my way or the highway. Even though there’s some truth to your rules as a parent being the rules to live by, there’s also something to be said about your example. I heard it said years ago, “What you do in moderation, your children do in excess“.  We don’t necessarily have a democracy at home, but I find if I go into dictating mode, my rules are inconsistent with my lifestyle. Why? Because I am the leader and I can do what I want. The problem: It’s confusing for the kids and teaches them to not live out what they say.

Advice: No matter what you think, you are always mentoring them. From your example, you will show them one of two things: 1. What to be like or 2. What they don’t want to be like. My father used to tell me, “Carefully watch the pastors that you work for. You will learn what the ministry is and what the ministry is not.” You’re kids will see the same thing in your family. Strive to give them the example of humanity possible.  Let them see you succeed AND fail.  For some reason, we don’t want them, out of pride, see our failures.  I’ll give you a tip: one of the greatest memories of my father was when he apologized to me for disciplining me when I didn’t deserve it.  Him asking for forgiveness and seeing his humility FOREVER marked my life. Proverbs 11:2Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

2 more that Anne and I also observe…

I want to be their best friend. I’ve notice that parents who, themselves, grew up with very tough parents are more likely to go to the opposite extreme and strive to be their kid’s best friend. It’s such a “feel good” move but in the end it’s damaging to the relationship. Why? Because when the child is in need of a parent, there’s none to be found. When they need parental discipline, it isn’t received with respect. Why?  Friends don’t/can’t discipline another friend.

Advice: I never knew my parents as my friends. Yet there wasn’t an issue I was not allowed to come to them about. Not having them as a friend didn’t keep me from going to them. In fact, it made them a safe place to go. Why? I knew they would approach it as a parent and there was such a safety in that. Your kids don’t need another friend.  They need a trusted and respected parent to be the voice of trust, strength, and Godliness in the home. Ephesians 5:1 says “Be imitators of God…” Don’t be an imitator of their friends. They don’t need it and, really, they don’t want that. Reflect The Father to your children and live out His example before them.

I live vicariously through my kids. Maybe because your parents would have never “bought you that”. Or your parents would’ve never let you “go out looking like that”.  As parents, we like to provide for what we didn’t have. My parents never bought me legos (those suckers are expensive), but what do I buy Ethan? Legos. As silly of an example as that is, there is a problem that goes far deeper.  There are parents that push their kids into sports, academics, and even relationships.  The goal seems to be to encourage the kids to be the best they can be. But for some, it’s to re-live moments. “Just to be on the field one more time.” “Just to get the grade I didn’t get.” “Just to not make the same relationship mistake I made.”  The problem: our kids end up hurt, confused, and damages, not over their lack of effort, but over a parent’s inability to let go and let them live.

Advice: Let your kids live. Set them up with wisdom, Godly counsel, prayer, and encouragement to make the decisions and paths they want to follow.  I’m a sports nut.  As much as I DESPERATELY want Ethan to play sports (specifically football), it has to be his choice. My position as father is not to reproduce me.  It’s to reproduce Christ in them.  Deuteronomy 6: 6-7 “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Keep the Lord as the focus and foundation of your parenting. He’ll guide you and He will help you through this parenting thing.

I know it’s a lot to take in. But I want to encourage you that you are not alone in your parental frustrations. You are not the only one going through the storm of raising kids. Be of good cheer and be encouraged that this, as tough as it is, is going to be one of the greatest seasons of your lives.  You are only promised a window of 18 years to pour into them. The best thing for you to do is be the greatest encourager your child has. Proverbs 11:25 says “those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Do you want to be refreshed as a parent, refresh/encourage your kids.

Set them up to live Godly lives.

Then let them go.

Thanks for letting me ramble…