I know I’ve said it before, but parenting is the toughest and most important job in the world. You will never have as much impact in any other area as you will in the life of your children. That’s a scary thought and a huge responsibility.
I find there’s a lot of tension in parenting. And I don’t mean tension between mother and father – I mean tension in finding the right balance in our parenting style.
Rhonda and I have four children and they are all different. We’ve had to learn how to parent in four different ways. It’s important that our children understand our family values but we also want to guard their individual personalities. That’s the tension.
So we have to learn to pick our fights wisely. Not everything in parenting is a life or death situation. As parents, we create the framework for family life. At the beginning, it’s a fairly small frame. When they were younger, our children didn’t have much say over their bed time or what they wanted for supper. As they grow older, we have tried to give them more freedom to express themselves while still within the framework of our family. They don’t always like our decisions, but then that’s not our primary aim.
I often sense my shortcomings as a parent. Some things I can’t go back and fix. I’m not sure that we have always been able to find the proper balance. There have been long and frustrating days as well as great rewards. The important thing is that we keep working at it. Don’t give up on your parenting responsibilities. Don’t abdicate your job to their peers or the entertainment industry. Don’t compromise on the Biblical values for your family. Keep working at it. Keep praying for help and keep pointing them to Jesus.
We are told in Deuteronomy 4:9 to “be on your guard and diligently watch yourselves, so that you don’t forget the things your eyes have seen and so that they don’t slip from your mind as long as you live. Teach them to your children and your grandchildren.” We have a lot to pass on and give our children. We are also affecting our grandchildren. But we have to guard ourselves and stay diligent in our duties – stay faithful to our calling as parents.
Hang in there. It will be many years before the finished product can be evaluated, but your hard work, effort and prayers will not be in vain.