Parenting Principle of the Day: If you worry that you’re ruining your kids, you’re probably doing better than you think.
by AJ Hofstetter
A few weeks ago, I told my wife that I feel like I’m short with my kids, impatient, distracted, sharp; rarely responding with the gentleness and compassion I always hope I’m going to respond with. I told her I felt like I was blowing it as a dad.
Her response surprised me.
“I think only good parents ever worry about how they’re doing.”
I must admit, it made sense, and I felt a little better. Maybe my fear…my feelings that I’m not saying enough, playing enough, doing enough, leading enough…was actually an indication that I am more like the dad I want to be than I always thought.
Here’s the thing: My wife and I work really hard as parents to engage our kids in honest conversations. We try to have a home that is relationship rich. We try to show them the love of God with the way we love them. We try to model a good marriage and an earnest and humble faith.
But we fall short.
And even in all of those efforts, our evenings still race by. Somewhere between finding the source of the leak in our basement, dropping a kid off at youth group, checking in on Grandpa, and checking (and rechecking) math homework, we never quite get to the family reading time we were definitely going to start this week. Our mornings are no better, as we are needing to provide constant reminders of how long we have before the Dad-taxi pulls out of the driveway. Apparently our kids also need constant reminders that they need to wear socks. The pace of life has got us keeping up, but not really ever getting ahead.
And that’s where the questions of how we’re doing as parents tend to come from.
Perhaps we’re alone in this…but I doubt it.
So what’s the answer? How do we be more like the parents we want to be and less like the parents we feel like?
The Things We Can Learn Alongside Our Students
At Liberty Classical Academy, we’re committed to helping your students develop a real, lasting, and authentic faith. We believe that a life that is surrendered to Christ is capable of things that only God could dream up. And so our goal is to help them meet, know, follow, hear, and serve the God with big dreams for them.
But that commitment doesn’t stop with our students.
Did You Know…
Each morning at Liberty, our students start their days with a morning blessing; something called a “Soul-Starter.” It’s basically a Psalm that students pray through using a prayer format called ‘ACTS.’ This stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. In other words, with each morning reading, our students show their adoration for God. They confess their shortcomings and need for Him. They tell God what they’re thankful for, and then they ask God for His blessing and favor in supplication.
Give it a shot…whether on your own or as a family. Pick a Psalm. Read it aloud. Identify ways to pray the words of that Psalm as a prayer of adoration. Then find the sections of the Psalm that point to things you can confess to God. Find things to be thankful for, like God’s faithfulness, his forgiveness, his provision, or his power. And finally, ask. Ask God for his blessing and favor. Find what the Psalmist asked God for and ask for the same thing.
The goal at Liberty is to build good habits into the lives of our students. And our hope is that ultimately, that pours over into homes.
If you worry you’re ruining your kids, that you’re not doing enough, praying enough, or training enough, that probably means you’re in a good place. You’re at least asking hard questions and taking responsibility.
Perhaps the newsflash that we all need in this conversation is that in many ways, we are ruining our kids. Our brokenness is going to affect them. There’s no getting around that. But the more we can be honest about it, the more we can learn to be still alongside our kids and help them see the value and beauty in a life that’s committed to following and learning, the more we can point them to the Parent that never disappoints.