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The Perfect Family?
As you know, our children are grown and away from home. They are wonderful (their mother speaking, you understand), and they married great people. They are both serving the Lord. Since they grew up, I’ve heard through the grapevine that some people think we must have been perfect parents, and that our kids are perfect.
Pardon me while I die laughing!Nothing could be further from the truth!
I personally made enough parenting mistakes to fill a fat dictionary—in small print. My husband made fewer mistakes than I did, but he made some, too. We were parents who relied on common sense and the grace of God. We prayed a lot, laughed a lot, rolled our eyes, cried, and sighed a lot.
We did the best we could. We gave it our best shot with the poor maturity we had. We did our best to invest our lives in our kids. We tried to teach them the Bible and good values. We answered their questions—and they had lots of them! We loved on them. We fed them nutritious food. We encouraged them to learn and to work. We did special activities with them—like taking them camping in Europe, in the rain (so many times!) to see educational sites like castles, Normandy, and the Alhambra. Our children helped us in the church ministry and evangelism from the time they were very small. We homeschooled, enabled them to take music lessons and learn French, and we tried to make sure they could develop their many interests, be with friends, and enjoy life—while being protected by Mama and Daddy.
My husband and I enjoyed every stage of their growing up. They were not perfect kids, and we were not perfect parents, but we were/are a happy, close family.
There are no perfect parents.Parents are two people who have children. Being a “people” means being imperfect—a sinner. Two sinners bringing up little sinners. (Kids aren’t perfect, either!)Parents make huge mistakes, all the time. Parents can be good; it’s true. But, I have yet to meet one that came anywhere close to perfect.
Every parent needs help.The good news is that help’s available.Let me share some encouraging parenting verses from the Bible:
- The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding (Proverbs 9:10). Respect for God is the primary thing. That alone will help you to begin to be wise and understanding.
- If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering (James 1:5-6a). When you need help, pray. Go to God and ask Him to guide you.
- Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). When we don’t understand, we can lean on the Lord. He will make our path straight!
- And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deuteronomy 6:5-7) What are you supposed to teach your kids? It all starts with you. When you love God with all your heart, soul, and strength, then you can teach your children God’s commandments. How? Well, it’s an all-day process. You talk about what God wants in the morning, at home, walking along, and in the evening. You pour your own love and respect for the Lord into your children.
What’s the child’s part?
- One of the Ten Commandments says, Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee (Exodus 20:12).
- They’re also to obey. Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth (Ephesians 6:1-3).
- My kids knew these verses well: My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck (Proverbs 1:8-9).
- This is our goal: Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old. Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding. The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice(Proverbs 23:22-25). That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace (Psalm 144:12).
I truly believe that God fits children to their parents and parents to their children. Our kids aren’t always what we might have dreamed up for ourselves, but God gives them to us for a reason.
I learned as much from my children as they did from me—if not more! I believe our very strong-willed child taught me much about rearing children and loving them as they are. I believe my husband and I learned as we went, and we’ve also learned a lot since the kids grew up. (Wouldn’t it be nice to have children when you have the energy of a twenty-year-old and the wisdom of a person in his fifties? It doesn’t happen that way; God wants us to rely on Him.)
Which brings me to my conclusion: there are no anything-near-perfect parents.Christian parents must rely on the Lord every single day for training their non-perfect kids.If children turn out well, it’s due to God’s work in their hearts and their willingness to obey Him. If a child turns out badly, it’s because the child rebelled against God—but there’s always hope for him to humble himself and change with God’s help.
Please take the time to visit Lou Ann over at In the Way and let her know what a blessing this post was.
Parents cannot take credit for anything except trying the best they could. Period. (Neither should we say, “You are such good parents” or “It’s your fault Joey’s a drug addict.” Parents are responsible before God to do the best they can to obey Him as they rear their children. But ultimately, how a child turns out is due to his own decisions, good and bad. Has he trusted Christ? Does he walk with the Lord? Does he obey the Bible? He has to choose.)Perfect parents? Perfect children? Perfect family?I’m rolling on the floor laughing! (Now, if I could only get up!)Any thoughts? I’d love to hear them.