I keep some books in my library that have struck me as important over the years. One book I keep just for the sake of the title: God Has Never Failed Me, but He Sure Has Scared Me to Death a Few Times. I loved the honesty of that one!
Some books I keep to warn me. They have titles like, The Ten Worst Mistakes Leaders Make. I have made all ten. Times three. Or one that I read mid-journey in my parenting experience: The 7 Worst Things Parents Do. I also did a few of those and added some that the authors didn’t think of.
Here is the list provided and expanded by Drs. John and Linda Friel in their book.
- Baby your child
- Put your marriage last
- Push your child into too many activities
- Ignore your own spiritual or emotional life
- Try to be your child’s best friend
- Fail to give your child structure
- Expect your child to fulfill your dreams
All of us who have been on the parenting journey can confess to making more than one of those mistakes, and like me, you may add others of your own. Over the next few blogs, I want to expand some of these for us in hopes that it may help us avoid missteps in our parenting experience. I may even add a few of my own mistakes to the list.
But a word of caution: none of us are going to be perfect parents. I can speak with a little less pressure since I know how my children turned out. My kids are great, awesome adults who make us proud over and over again. And today they are wonderful friends as well. But they did not come from perfect parents. We made our mistakes. And so did our parents. And so will our kids when they are parents.
At the end of the day, parenting is a grace-dependent experience and your kids make choices some times in spite of your best efforts and sometimes in spite of your failures. We do the best we can as parents. Prayerfully. Depending on God.
And the outcome we must leave to God.
FOR MEMORIZATION: Parents do not exasperate your children but instead bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord…. Ephesians 6:4
FOR REFLECTION: Maybe this list of parenting failures is something that makes you view your own parenting as flawed or broken beyond repair. There are no hopeless cases where God is concerned. Take your feelings of failure or even of guilt to the Lord. Begin where you are, whether your children are home or away from you. God is always willing to give us a new beginning… in spite of our failures.