26 Sep Help! I need some parenting tips! :)

Turns out that being a dad (or mom) is often humbling and hard.

I didn’t always understand this.

Throughout my school-age years, the concept of someday shepherding children, day in and day out, seemed easy. In my own mind I was already an expert.

When, in my early 20’s, I interned for a large church’s middle school ministry, the kids thought I was super cool (they had some growing up to do). They and I camped and hiked and played games. The main leader and I did crazy skits; we felt like rock stars. *smile*

I failed to realize that I’d one day I would spend school mornings turning from child to child and admonishing them to:

Please hurry and get in the car. Daddy can’t be late for work. What do you mean you need to run back into the house? And why aren’t you buckled? You didn’t brush your teeth!?”

[Quick break from typing to sigh and giggle at the absurdity of it all]

After I finished up an undergraduate degree in English, History, and Psychology Education. I thought I had all the answers.

Years later I’d find out that sometimes young men and women behave worse at home than in public (gasp!). And sweet siblings can—at least for moments—seemingly hate one another from the deepest part of their “haters.” 😉

By the time I completed a Master of Education in school counseling, my self-confidence—in something I’d never done—was bizarrely high. I wish I would have paid more attention to Proverbs 16:18’s warning that, “Pride comes before a fall.”

Thankfully, my wife and I had babies.

[Cue repeated, metaphorical face plants in the dirt]

Ever since then, with each new parenting curve ball, I have continued to ask other parents for advice.

On that note, I recently queried LCS staffers and locals for their favorite child-rearing sound bites.

And this is what they had to say (Bible verses follow*):

Our new third grade teacher, Mrs. Williams, offers, “When I had my first child, I asked my mom how she was such a great parent. She said, ‘I prayed, and did the best I could, and asked Jesus to cover any mistakes I made.’”

Hebrews 4:16: Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Mr. Dille says, “Nurture the ‘Wow’ factor.”

Psalm 71:17: O God, You have taught me from my youth, And I still declare Your wondrous deeds.

Mrs. Harrison (second grade) states three things:

1) The best gift you can give your children is the example of a joyful, well-built marriage.

Ephesians 5:25: For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.

2) Moms and dads must develop a core of close Christian friends to share life honestly with; I have met weekly with the same four women for about 13 years and would not have survived [without them].

Hebrews 10:25: Do not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

3) Find a youth group that works for your children in their teenage years, it may save their lives.

Proverbs 22:6: Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

A former 1st grade instructor reminds us, “You are your child’s best advocate.”

Romans 14:16: Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil.

A retired occupational therapist shares, “Before giving your son or daughter choices, make sure that all of the options you present are acceptable to you, and favorable to shaping them into a better person.”

Isaiah 30:21: And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

The Washington-based coach who currently leads an international women’s team reminds us to:

“Love kids enough to discipline them.”

Proverbs 3:12: For the LORD corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.

Mrs. Howl encourages you and me by stating,

“The surest way to making your child’s life difficult is to make it too easy for them. Resist hovering; prepare your child for the path, not the path for your child. To that end, words like ‘second draft,’ ‘do-over’ and ‘make something out of your mistake,’ are powerful in and of themselves.”

Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

And my own?

“Sons and daughters spell love T.I.M.E.”

[Just wish I could recall who first said it to me]

Deuteronomy 31:6: So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.

Psalms 139:13-16: For You formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Do you have a favorite piece of parenting advice? Please feel free to let me know.

After all…

We’re in this together,

Jon

*This is just my best attempt, as a non-theologian, to match verses with concepts. Thank you for your grace. *grin*