Being a parent is probably the most difficult (and also the most rewarding) job on the planet. It’s a sacred duty, a 24/7 job, a potentially-terrifying responsibility and a legacy-defining work. With all the pressures that come with such a big job, we parents tend to beat ourselves up too easily over our blunders. Here’s a little perspective that’s helped me on those days when I feel like I’m failing as a parent (which happens almost daily)…
When you feel like you’re failing as a parent, consider the fact that Jesus’ earthly parents (Joseph and Mary), lost him for three days while they were on a road trip. The entire first day the didn’t even know he was lost! (You can read the story in the Bible here.) And you feel guilty when you lose your kid at Walmart for ten minutes! Give yourself some grace.
As parents, we tend to take way too much credit when our kids do something right and we take way too much blame when our kids do something wrong. I’ve known plenty of parents who thought they were amazing parents because their first kid was naturally a “pleaser” with a more docile, compliant personality. They judged parents with rambunctious kids until they had a strong-willed kid of their own! Our kids’ behavior (positive or negative) isn’t always the result of our parenting. If you don’t believe me, consider the fact that God is a perfect Father, and yet His kids (that’s us) make bad choices EVERY day. For more on this, check out the 7 things to do when your kids disappoint you.
Each child is masterfully unique. As parents, it’s our sacred responsibility to love, equip, encourage, discipline and guide each child towards responsible adulthood. It’s not our job to raise “good kids”; it’s our job to raise responsible adults and to invest in our RELATIONSHIP with them so our kids still WANT to see us when they grow up and don’t have to see us anymore. This doesn’t mean being a child’s “buddy” or “BFF” is more important than being his/her parent; it just means that (to quote Dr. James Dobson) “Rules with relationships lead to rebellion.” For more on this, check out my post on 7 ways parents harm their kids without even realizing it.
Keep learning and growing and striving as a parent, because the most important work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own home. Celebrate the beautiful moments along the way, and on those days when you feel like you’ve failed as a parent, give yourself some grace. YOUR parents were far from perfect, and you still turned out awesome!
For tools to help you build stronger relationships within your family, check out my book The Seven Laws of Love: Essential Principles for Building Stronger Relationships.
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