ON BEING A GOOD PARENT
I have a very close friend who is a great Christian, a devoted husband, and a super dad. He loves his kids and wants what is best for them. But I remember sitting in his office one day as he tearfully recounted a sobering conversation he had with his high school son that went something like this:
"Dad, you're just not fair with me! I get good grades, obey you and mom, and walk with God, yet you are so hard on me! I have friends who lie to their parents and get in all kinds of trouble. I don't do any of that, but you don't seem to take that into account. You're just so unfair."
My friend was cut to the quick as God convicted him about being too hard of a parent. In his efforts to make his son the best he could be, he saw how he had unwittingly hurt him in the process. He apologized to his son from the heart with tears of repentance and brokenness.
THE PROBLEM WITH MANY PARENTS, ESPECIALLY DADS
The problem we have as parents is that we tend to nit-pick our kids to death over their flaws and failures. We can easily point out the problems and totally miss the points to praise. For example, do you kids hear things like this way too much of the time?
You missed a spot vacuuming/mowing.
You did a poor job cleaning your room.
You call that doing your homework?
You didn't do this right, that right, and the other right.
Kids need two important things from mom and dad: love and discipline. And of these two, love is paramount. ("The greatest of these is love.") Studies have shown that the very worst parenting style a person can adopt is one ofhigh discipline and low love. A mom or dad who parents with high discipline and low love produces discouraged, angry, resentful, rebellious children. Are you high discipline and low love?
WHAT TO DO?
I encourage you to sit down with your kids and honestly, humbly ask how you are doing as a parent. Ask them if they feel like you are too hard on them and too negative. Ask them if they feel like you ALWAYS point out the wrongs and rarely mention the rights. Ask them if they feel knit-picked, if they feel as if you are impossible to please.
And if you are guilty of violating Colossians 3:21, humble yourself and seek their forgiveness. Ask God to help you be parent who is better at praising than picking. Of course have discipline, but shower that discipline with lots and lots of love, encouragement and praise.
ONE LAST THING
Remember how God the Father interacted with His Son, Jesus. Before Jesus had done one miracle, the Father said at His baptism, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I'm well-pleased" (Matt. 3:17). May you and I frequently say to our children, "I love you, and I am so proud of you." It makes all the difference in the world!
If it has been a while since you have said those words to your son or daughter, do it today (even if they are grown and gone). You will be so glad you did, and they will be so blessed!
Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.