Monday, April 7, 2014

We've turned into our parents!

This past week I had two earth shattering revelations that confirmed what I feared might one day happen. I've turned into my parents! I caught my self one morning walking barefoot through our house wearing my slacks and shirt for work, half ready for the day, and thought back to my adolescence when I saw my dad doing the same. Last night I found my self lying half awake, half asleep on the couch about nine o'clock and remembered how my dad would "watch TV" while doing the same thing. Don't get me wrong, this isn't the first time I've came to this realization. Anyone who's had children have, at one time or another, caught themselves disciplining their kids like their parents did. And we've all had that dreaded moment when we look at our kids and say something our parents used to say that would absolutely drive us nuts! It's a vicious cycle that I am convinced is perpetrated by the curse of parents when they say "I hope you have one just like you!"

I have to admit that when it comes to "turning into my parents" I'm okay with it. I had great role models of what parents should be like. Were my parents perfect, far from it. Did they try their best to love us, discipline us, teach us, and develop us as followers of Christ? Yes they did. When it comes to parenting we have to remember that kids don't come with an instruction manual, so for some, parenting is more difficult than they expected. We also have to remember that our only sources of parenting knowledge are examples we've witnessed, our own wisdom and God's wisdom.

Some of us have great examples to learn from. Others have poor examples to follow. Whether our parents were good or bad at parenting, it's our responsibility to take the good examples and use them, and learn from the bad examples as to what we don't want to do with our kids. No parents are perfect. My parents taught me many good lessons about parenting. Did I also see things that I would do differently, sure. Parenting is the greatest example of "On the Job Training" there ever was. We have to learn and adapt but we have to learn from the good and bad examples we've been given.

Our own wisdom is limited but can be effective at helping us make wise parenting decisions. Sometimes our best guess is all we can muster. Sometimes we take a shot in the dark because we haven't faced a particular situation before. Our finite wisdom can be a good resource be have to remember that it is finite and that we don't know it all.

God's wisdom is the greatest resource we have for parenting. We can gain that wisdom in two ways. One is through prayer and the other through His Word. As a pastor, I find my self regularly praying for godly wisdom. We as parents should do the same. He tells us in the Bible that He will freely give us wisdom, all we have to do is ask (James 1:5). So ask for it. The other source of His wisdom is through His Word, the Bible. The Bible is full of godly wisdom for parents on how to parent. In my opinion, two of the greatest examples of godly wisdom from the Bible that I can quickly pass along to you are these. 1. Raise your child to be a man or woman who has faith in God (Proverbs 22:6). 2. Discipline your children (Proverbs 13:24). There are plenty of others in the Bible so mine it for every valuable nugget of wisdom for parenting. (Proverbs is a great place to start!)

Parenting is the toughest job EVER! We can't go it alone and we definitely need some help. So rely on your examples, rely on your wisdom, and most importantly, rely on God.

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