“There is no such thing as a perfect parent.”
Whew! That felt good to get off my chest. Our children and students mean the world to us. As we parent them, their entire future feels at stake. It feels like life or death sometimes, does it not? I have good news for you.
You will NOT do it right.
I know, I know… you are wondering how this is good news. But the Bible gives us almost no examples of perfect parents (I am not convinced that Mary and Joseph count, either!). Adam and Eve, after having the distinction of being the first on earth to disobey God, raised a son who would murder his brother. Isaac’s son, Jacob, swindled his brother for the inheritance and fooled dad into giving him the family blessing. This same Jacob would love one of his sons more than the others, leading to jealousy and the sale of his son into slavery. King David’s sin led to the death of one of his children. King Solomon’s family fell apart completely, leading to the division of the entire nation of Israel. Take heart, my friend. We imperfect parents are in good biblical company.
But I have even better news. God is on his throne. I do not say such things flippantly. I mean it. God used Cain after his murder; he renamed Jacob as Israel (which would become the name of the entire nation); he made Joseph second in command in Egypt; he made David a man after God’s own heart; he made Solomon the wisest man on earth. And he can use even you, flawed though your parenting may be.
Psalm 78 is a great parenting poem. Verse 4 says, “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” In Deuteronomy 6:7, we hear the instructions of Moses to the nation of Israel just prior to their entrance into the promised land: “[T]each them diligently to your children,” at home and on the road and at night and in the morning.
At our recent Parent2Parent lunch, we discussed Proverbs 4:23. “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” The faith we have in OUR hearts is most often the faith we see in our children later. As we love God with all our heart, we likely will see our children love God, too. As we pray for our children to love God with their hearts, we will see God work in their lives, doing the work we cannot do… changing our children from the inside.
Parents, let me encourage you. “Don’t worry about anything (not even your kids); instead, pray about everything (especially your kids)” (Philippians4:6, NLT). Do you trust God even with your most precious blessings, your kids?