Parenting Reflections From A Dad
As a dad of four boys I’ve learned more from them at this point. My boys are ages 20, 18, 16, and almost 10 years old. Of course, I give my wife the greatest credit for being an amazing full time mom. I hope I’ve been an above average part time dad. I say part time simply because my wife has devoted her life to motherhood. I’ve been working and trying to be like her when I grow up. Here are some things I know now that I really couldn’t fully see in real time.
First, your kids really do grow up fast. One minute you’re wishing that baby would stop crying. The next you’re wishing that same child would let you hold them. One minute you’re dropping them off at elementary school. The next you’re waving goodbye as they head off to college. Yes, they really do grow up in a blink.
Secondly, it’s the quality times together you will remember most. I remember every vacation we ever took together. The times I wasn’t working and could give them my undivided attention. I remember hearing constantly “are we there yet?” And while most of those car rides were full of shouting and threats. I would go back in time right now simply to see their excitement as we headed towards our family vacation.
Thirdly, I now realize just how important it is to parent intentionally. Every age brings a new season of opportunity. It’s so important regardless of their age that you seize the God given windows of opportunity early and often. For example, it’s much easier to teach a young child about faith, hope, love, and respect. Do know that your teenagers will seem like they were invaded by a hard headed alien. Keep on loving and teaching them the way they should go.
Finally, I realize it’s such a great privilege and responsibility to be a parent. Our kids will remember less what we preached and more what we practiced. We must strive to model for them the way God would have us to live. Good or bad they will learn and often repeat the values we demonstrated.
Now, we can’t do anything about past mistakes or missed opportunities. But, we can strive moving forward to be the best Christlike examples possible. Regardless of how old our children are at this time. Parents we should lead the way in showing them how to love God, love people and follow Christ. Why? Because at the end of our lives it will be God who gives us our final report card.
“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.” Deuteronomy 6:5-7