The father of godly children has cause for joy.
What a pleasure to have children who are wise.
Proverbs 23:24 (NLT)
I once worked with a pastor whose children were going through a rowdy, rebellious phase. One of the more self-righteous, overly negative members of his congregation made a snide remark about his children behaving badly. Exasperated by her back-biting and malice, he finally snapped.
“Lady,” my friend said to the snooty woman, “my children are not immaculately conceived. If you don’t believe me, I’ll drop trow right now and show you the plumbing that got the job done. Being as my children are bred of two flawed human beings, you might extend a little grace rather than expecting them to be perfect.”
That story always makes me laugh. Despite my friend’s sharp tongue, I appreciate the truth of the point he was trying to make.
I never expected my children to be perfect. I have had people ask me how I raised great kids. I always struggle to answer those questions because I feel like the outcome is far more about God grace and about their own wise choices than it is about parenting. There is no secret formula nor are there guarantees or sure outcomes. I only had a few guiding principles I attempted to follow…
- Rather than trying to get them to go to church, I tried to model for them an active faith.
- Rather than telling them “no” all the time, I tried to find healthy ways to tell them “yes.”
- Rather than fearing the worst in them, I tried to trust the best in them.
- Rather than holding them back out of fear of what they might do, I tried to release them with faith that they would do the things that they should do.
- Rather than trying to love them with lots of things, I tried to love them with time, affection & attention.
I am not a perfect parent and my kids can provide you a list of my failings. My children are not perfect children (and I could provide you with a little list of my own). You will never find marble statues of my family erected in honor of our perfection, virtue, character, wisdom, morality, intelligence, or spirituality. Nevertheless, I resonate so deeply with King Solomon’s words. I have cause for joy today and every day because I have three good kids who love God and who love others well. I can’t ask for more than that.