Parenting and Integrity

Following in his footsteps
Following in his footsteps (Photo credit: AhmadHashim)

The godly walk with integrity;
    blessed are their children who follow them.
Proverbs 20:7 (NLT)

Notice that the proverb does not read that the godly walk with perfection.

As I look back over the past 23 years of being a parent, I am reminded of numerous mistakes that I have made. These mistakes include personal moral failures and regrets for little things I should have said or done differently both as a person and as a father. What has been clear to me is that my shortcomings are not hidden from my children. They are painfully aware of my weaknesses as well as my strengths.

Along the journey I’ve witnessed many parents who attempt to hide their weaknesses from their children. Taking on an attitude of perfection and high-minded omniscience, they act as if it would be disaster for their children to perceive a chink in the parental armor. They work tirelessly to offer the kids a spit-and-polished veneer of supremacy and will not admit failure or show weakness to their offspring. Mom and Dad are perfect.  They are not to be questioned.

I have tried very hard not to fall into that trap. I would rather my children learn that integrity is not about the illusion of perfection but rather about embracing the truth of my imperfections. I don’t want my example to be the appearance of being a flawless parent, but the honesty of being a humble, authentic human being. I want to teach by example how to admit my mistakes, seek forgiveness, and strive towards continually improving both myself and my relationships them, with God and with others. To me, that will do more good in preparing them for life than some false impression I try to create that I do no wrong.

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4 thoughts on “Parenting and Integrity”

  1. 7 The godly walk with integrity;
    blessed are their children who follow them.

    My kids and my peers’ kids are getting older. Kids are on Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook and the like. While this verse talks of walking with integrity and the blessing that is to their kids, the opposite is equally true. If we don’t think our kids are observing our behavior when it comes to integrity, money, alcohol, language we have our heads in the sand. In a few years we will see the fruit of that…..in our kids.

  2. Tom, I could not agree with you more. There have been countless times that I have had to apologize to my children when I have reacted without thinking. My kids know this momma ain’t perfect. Forgiving one anothers flaws, even in a parent-child relationship, teaches us grace & humility. Thanks for this post…right on the mark!

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