I’ve learned all there is to know about parenting and being a dad…..False. This morning, I find myself doing a great deal of reflecting about life as a parent. Today, my oldest son, Shawn, turned 21 years old. 21…Wow!!! I look back and think where did it all go? How did 21 years pass by so quickly? When going through some pictures for a birthday post, I ran across a picture from Shawn’s first Christmas. I look at Amber and me and think how young and clueless we were at the time. What we did know, however was that we loved Shawn and each other very much and were going to do the best we could to raise him and our next two kids up right.
I recently had a young couple ask me if there was a good book on parenting that I could recommend. I looked at them and smiled. While I know there are a number of books out there that would provide some great and helpful advice, the best recommendation I could give was experience. Learning what works as best for you and your family along the way and just like with your life, learning from mistakes along the way, because yes, we will all make mistakes when it comes to parenting and raising our children.
I’ve been blessed with a beautiful wife who took the role of a mother very seriously, just as I took my role as a father very seriously. Have we got it all right? No, we haven’t. The glory of it all, however is that we learned together through the mistakes we’ve made, communicated with each other, called each other out…okay okay, she called me out, when needed. While we didn’t get it all right, we worked through this together.
Later in the game, God became a big part of the equation. As we grew in deeper relationship with Him, we grew closer together and it because apparent that we were missing a key element. Raising up a child in the way he should go. Continuing to point our kids to God and encourage them to make Him a center part of their life. We realized that we could only take them so far, so what would we do with the time we have left with them.
For me as a dad, I often wonder if I’ve guided me kids enough. I’ve learned how important the role of dad is in the lives of their kids and have seen so much heart ache when dads do not fill their role. Again, while I’ve stumbled along the way, I’ve learned where to point our kids to and then surrender full trust in the God that He will lead them the rest of the way and they will continue following His lead. Train up a child in the way He should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it Proverbs 22:6. That’s exactly where this verse is leading.
Now, what we also have to be okay with, I have learned, our own mistakes aside, is that our kids are going to stumble along they way as well, just as we did. Do we come to the rescue all the time, or do we, again, surrender them to the Lord? To guide me in this, I’ve incorporated a version of the daily prayer from Ransomed Heart as a part of my daily walk. It’s not just for parenting, but from surrendering every part of my life, my heart, and domain to God each day. Check it out here.
Again, the bottom line, at least from my own “expert” opinion, is that the best of parenting as dad or a mom, you learn along the way. Be okay with stumbling and making mistakes, as they will help hone your abilities and when you can recognize and own the mistakes, you’ll be better off for it and your kids will appreciate that in you as well.