Tag Archives: Parenting

Learned Along The Way

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 Shawn21ran 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.

 

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Joy as a Dad

I have been a dad for 20 years now.  Over half my life.  I became a dad when I was 19 years old, when Amber and I welcomed our first born, Shawn, into the world.  We were on the early parenthood plan.  By the grace of God, we’ve made it over 20 years as parents and nearly 21 as husband and wife now with 3 children.  I had someone ask me recently about want to take parenting classes.  It was serious, but I couldn’t help but laugh a little.  Not at them, but at the idea.  I’m sure there are good classes out there, but bottom line is, you learn this thing as a you go.

So these last many days and weeks, I’ve been reflecting a lot on our years as parents and on the role I’ve played as dad, or as my daughter calls me, padre.  There’s been a lot of cool and fun things that have happened over the years.  Watching these kids grow up has had me filled with so much joy.  Have there been struggles, ummmm, yeah there have, but we’ve made it through all of them.

Now some of the coolest things are really starting to come out.  Maybe it has a lot to do with them growing older and really beginning to find their own identities, but I can honestly say that I could not have fully imagined what they would have been like once they began to really allow God to work in them and through them.

Okay, by way of background, if you don’t know us personally, we have been a very closed off and introverted family.  Amber and I marrying so young and starting a family, drifted into a life of solitude.  It was us against the world, proving we could make it starting so young.  So that led to habits of being reserved and quiet when outside of our element, our home.  This was a lot of how I operated in the work place as well, even having a colleague years back tell me that I was difficult to read because of how quiet and reserved I was.  I lived as a lone ranger and I was raising a family of lone rangers, so to speak.  Of course, the kids picked up our habits along the way.  Our sons seemed to a great deal more.

After coming to faith in Christ 3 years ago, I knew something had to change.  Amber followed over the next year as did the the kids.  I began to make new connections and grow from being apathetic, to becoming curious, to finally confessing Christ in January 2015, to becoming a disciple and apprentice of Jesus, and now to equipping others.  Amber has since followed that and seeing this beautiful woman freed up as well and seeing her come alive has been so wonderful.

With that, one of our biggest prayers and concerns was now, what about our kids?  We continued to pray for them to open up and and urging them to do so.  It was not a habit easily broken.  I’ll admit, we got fairly frustrated at times.  We wondered at times, will they ever get out of their shells.  In looking back though, I realize, we were in ours for way longer.

I don’t know what that actual pivotal moment was, or even it was just a series of circumstances, but something has clicked this year.  To seem them building real, Christ centered relationships, to see them doing life, to see them getting involved in ministry and even a desire for some missions opportunities, has been phenomenal.  All 3 of our kids, in their own unique way, are starting to get freed up and see some real God style things happening in their lives.  It fills me with so much joy as it does Amber.

I have learned previously that one of the most beautiful things that God does is take time.  Nothing is instant. I just was not patient enough for that to be the case for my own kids.  So now, and I see God, with a smile on his face, saying, “You want to see something? Watch this,” and then suddenly a fire is lit under each of them in way I never fully expected.  I think if Bruce Almighty when he says, “Now you’re just showing off.”

I share this to tell all of you and I know many who worry about their own kids futures.  Yes, our kids have to step into life and figure things out through trial and error just as we all did.  But know that God is not holding out on you.  Be faithful in prayer over them and in encouragement that God can take a hold of their heart.  The outcome is not up to us and we have no control over that.  Trust in the God that made them each uniquely and wonderfully and had each of them in mind since before the foundations of the earth.  It’s never too late.