I have been thinking a lot lately about my failures and successes as a dad. Unfortunately I feel like my failures outweigh the successes, but regret never helped a thing, so I am trying to learn and go forward. And with a sermon I have to give this weekend on parenting, I have really been seeking ways to grow and improve. There are so many places you can take a blog post about parenting. I want to share some things that I really hope my kids understand are true about what is in my heart and actions for them, some things that are important and are often not said out loud.
- I pray for you – I want my children to know that I talk to God about them, for them and over them. I pray not just for their safety or success, but their purity, character, future ministry, struggles, hurts and dreams. I seek God on their behalf regularly.
- I am proud of you – I am glad my kid are my kids, not because they are the fastest or the smartest, because in fact they are not. But they are fearfully and wonderfully made, and I love them not because of what they do, but because they are mine. I am thankful God gave them to me, and I am not embarrassed by them.
- I am ok with your faith doubts – As my kids age and wrestle with doubts and questions about the faith that my wife and I are intentionally trying to instill in them, I want them to know they have permission to ask anything. To question anything. Their doubts will not make us doubt them.
- I am making mistakes – I am aware that I am getting certain things wrong sometimes. I raise my voice. I say no when I should have said yes. I did not provide this or offer that. I pushed too hard. And so on. But here is the thing: I am doing the best I can, but they need to know I am completely connected to my failures and I want to apologize for those and ask for their forgiveness. Parenting is hard and I am trying to best that I can, but I swing and miss sometimes.
- I want what is best for you more than I want to be your friend – I want to be their friend, I do. But I am not going to sacrifice what I believe is the right call at the expense of them liking me more or being my friend. My goal is to raise a responsible, God-fearing adult, and this means making calls they do not understand or like. I hope someday they would say we were pals and we liked each other, but more than that, I want them to say I parented them to be a grown up with the right stuff inside.