Over the past 6 weeks we have been talking about parenting in a sermon series here at Oak Grove called “Not Apparent”. The whole premise is this: whether you are a parent or not, we all want to and need to impact the next generation – but it’s not always apparent how to do it. I’ve been a parent for 9 years now and I certainly felt like I learned some powerful lessons in this series. Let me share with you 4 main takeaways from the parenting series for my personal parenting.
- Patience is so key
- Plan and work ahead
- Start Early
- Relationship is king
So let’s work through these 4 thoughts.
First, patience is so key. Patience with an infant is one thing. Patience with a toddler is another. Patience with a teenager is another. Patience with all three at the same time is something all together different! While that is truly, having patience with your children is one of the biggest ways that you can communicate to them that you value them, and not just a “better version” of them. Remember:
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:4
Generally, my patience is tested when more than one child is having a rough day or struggling to obey. In the midst of that, I’ve found that I need to fight hard to have patience and to interact with my children with patience because my Heavenly Father has been so patient with me.
Second, I need to plan and work ahead. Here is what I mean: parents to plan and communicate with their children what happens when certain choices are made. When they disobey, they need to know the consequences that are coming. This removes excuses and helps children to understand the weight of their decisions. Remember:
We are raising adults, not children, and adults have to face the consequences of their decisions.
We also need to work ahead on the issues that will be facing our children. Start early with the discussions that you want to have. Don’t put off discussions about sexuality, drugs and alcohol, caring for others who disagree with us and many other discussions. Start early with teaching obedience and self-control. Start early with meaningful relationships with your kids. Listen to them. Find out what they like, even though it probably means that there will be thousands of Pokémon cards all over your home or thousands of little LEGO pieces all over your floor that will embed themselves into your feet at night.
Last, but certainly not least, relationship is king. Our kids to know that we are for them, not just for our “ideal” them. Children struggle with so many pressures and difficulties especially as they get older. If we want our teens to talk to us, trust us, and involve us in the final stages of their childhood we need to communicate care and invest in the relationship with them…not just the rules. So, say yes as often as you can (Biblically and morally) and have fun with them.
Those are my major takeaways from the parenting series. What are yours?