Tag Archives: parenting

How I Create My Own Idols in Parenting…

Are we in line with the heart of God?

There comes a time where we inevitably feel like we have life pretty well figured out. We know how to act. We know what to do. We’ve learned what to avoid. However, in the process, we’ve lost God’s heart.

As a parent, I do this from time to time. I have a pretty good idea how I want my child to act, I know certain attitudes or behaviors I want him to avoid, and I soon begin to parent in my own way rather than in a God-honoring way.

I often find myself chasing the idols of behavior modification and daddy idolization. In the process, I lose the heart of God as I mentor and love my child.

The idol of behavior modification sneaks up fairly easily and I don’t think I’m alone in this. As parents, we want our children to learn right and wrong. We want them to conform to certain behaviors, but we too often seek to change their actions rather than nurture their heart.

Proverbs 4:23 calls the heart the “wellspring of life.” Luke 6:45 says that “out of the heart, the mouth speaks.” God wants our hearts. I lose sight of this when I become fixated on my desire to see my child just “do it right” rather than patiently and lovingly shepherding his heart.

I also lose sight of the heart of God in parenting when I make myself an idol. I become big headed and self-righteous when I get frustrated that my child does not obey me. I know – children should obey their parents. However, I think we can all attest that at times we have disciplined not out of a desire to see our children mature and grow, but simply because our inflated egos were damaged.

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4

Is my primary concern that my son obey me or that he mature and grow in his love for God and people?

I know we all have our own parenting styles. The many different theories and practices fill up bookstores. No matter which one we choose, we must make sure we submit our own hearts to God. Without his help, we will only become frustrated and fatigued as we chase idols such as the ones I battle.

Remember the words of Jesus in John 15:

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

As parents, we must regularly ask ourselves:

Are we in line with the heart of God?

 

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Filed under christian, parenting, Scripture, selflessness

Toddlerific!

Yesterday, I shared some questions I think we should all ask ourselves as parents. It always helps me to take a step back from parenting and examine my heart and my motives in how I parent. Today, I wanted to share with you a “proud dad” moment.

Every once in a while, he gets in these daddy’s boy moods. He’ll copy everything I do, he’ll beg me to play with him, and he’ll go out of his way to be extremely well behaved. Well, yesterday, my son grabs my finger and guides me into his little play area. He’s got about 30 matchbox cars, cars from Cars, monster trucks, and various other cars (do you see a theme?) all lined up in a row. He loves to do that for some reason! Right now, they are across our whole den (my wife calls it a living room, but it’s a den) floor!

He sits me down and we have this conversation:

E: Let’s play cars together daddy!

Me: Yeah, that’d be fun!

E: O.K. Yay!

Me: Which car can I play with?

E: Ummm…(you can see the wheels turning in his head…he scans over the cars and he lands on one in particular). Daddy can play with this one!

It may not sound like much of a conversation, but my little boy had just made a very selfless, generous decision. He gave me his much beloved Lightning McQueen car. Even better, it was an intentional decision. I love that and it was such a sweet moment to see my little guy sacrifice a little something for his daddy.

I wish it were that easy for me to give in real life. I cling to stuff so tight. Don’t get me wrong. I give here and there, but I give my leftovers. I give what I can afford to lose. My little guy – he gave his treasure. What a great lesson I learned, but such a difficult one to apply.

Have a great weekend!

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Humility as a Parent

Parenting requires a great deal of sacrifice. You pour a great deal of time, money, and effort into raising your children. Not many things could more accurately portray Becoming Last. My little guy is certainly worth it and I’m sure you’d say the same about your kids. But sometimes I find myself forgetting that it’s not beneath me to serve him too. Experts normally say that people best learn when their leaders lead by example. So here’s some questions to ask to see if you are Becoming Last as a parent. Disclaimer: I am not a parenting expert. I just love my kid and have some observations about my own tendencies.

  1. If your child acts out in public, are you consistent with your discipline or do they get the “extra upset” version because you are embarrassed?
  2. When they directly defy you do you care more about their development than your pride?
  3. Are you consistent with discipline no matter your attitude, sleep deprivation level, or crazy long day?
  4. Do you work hard at praising your kids for jobs well done?
  5. How many times do you say, “I love you!”?
  6. Do you give them grace occasionally?
  7. Do you practice what you preach (cleaning up after yourself, washing your hands, saying “please”, etc.)?
  8. Are you willing to say “I’m sorry” when your voice is too loud or you react a little stronger than you should have?

Just a short list today. I think in parenting we (read “I”) can sometimes become domineering. Certainly, we are the adults and they should listen, but I know I can also practice humility and a servant attitude towards my son.

So, for you parents out there today, how can you Become Last?

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Becoming Last as a Parent

Today has reminded me how easy it is for me to treat people based on my mood or how they treat me. Case in point: my two and a half year old. The poor kid is having a tough time coming back from a fun week of camp. We left this morning, he didn’t get a nap, and he’s so out of his  normal routine that he’s almost irrational. You know how kids get when they just cry to cry? That’s him.

He’s been AWESOME this week. He loved camp. But today, not so much. Which got me thinking about how I tend to treat him worse when he’s acting up and that I really shouldn’t. Here’s some examples…

  • My patience is shorter – When he’s upset so much, my patience thins, and I end up punishing him for stuff I wouldn’t normally punish him for. This only adds to the stress. My parenting (and my love) should be consistent whether he’s in rebellion or hitting a home run in the World Series.
  • I detach – I’m tired too. So it’s easy to just detach, do something yourself, and not engage him. Sometimes it is best to let them cry. I know that. But I also know I could try harder to love him through the tantrum.
  • I forget Jesus’ example – In John 13, Jesus washed the disciple’s feet. It was an act of service that went beyond the call of duty, especially considering whose feet he washed, Judas’. Judas would later betray him, yet Jesus washed his feet. Cranky two-year old or not, I can serve and love him better than I did today.

Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t like I lost it. I’m just beginning to recognize how often I think of myself instead of trying to serve and love people as Christ would. My little boy is going to have tough days every now and then. I shouldn’t just let him get away with anything, but I can surely provide an excellent example of Becoming Last.

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Filed under Chances to Serve, Examples of Sacrifice, General Update, Realizations, Scripture