Studying the actions of successful parents is very badly needed, while at the same time, often ignored and taken for granted.
Some people are confident that they will be good parents if they simply “do what comes naturally.” Others fear that their best will never be good enough.
It’s my view that being a father has been, hands down, THE most significant part of my life. I feel that it has also been the area of my greatest impact on the world of today and of the future.
The danger for many is that fatigue and being overly busy can be a serious threat to your success as a parent. It’s good occasionally to re-think about our parental roles.
Jim Martin, who is Vice President of Harding School of Theology in Memphis, Tennessee recently posted an article at his blog site titled, “What Good Parents Do.”
Here is Jim’s list with some of my own comments:
- Good parents continue to learn.
Without reading, learning, growing, and on-going mentoring, the only source for knowing how to handle the details of parenting are, “Well, here’s how my dad and granddad did it.” Maybe they were admirable people. And, maybe they depended on good underlying principles for their choices. But sometimes today’s questions need a slightly different take or angle.
- Good parents do not try to fill their own emptiness through their children.
Having children is not a good answer to questions like: “Who am I really?” “Why am I here?” How do I fill the empty hole in my heart?” Having a child won’t make your own parents love you more, or magically make your marriage better.
- Good parents give their children what they need and not whatever they may want.
The things that a child needs most have little to do with money or “stuff.” In fact, what kids really need is often what they want least. Wise parents balance a child’s “wants” with their “needs” and lean more heavily on what is truly in their kids’ best interests.
- Good parents pray for their children.
There is more to this life than what you can see. There is more to your and your kids’ lives than just physical things. No matter how busy or distracted you are, take time often to pray for your kids. Pray for them by name. Pray about specific challenges that they each have. Pray for their present AND their future.
- Good parents are fully present with their children in key moments.
A good rule of thumb is, “Wherever you are BE THERE.” Remember that, especially as your kids get older, the time to talk with them is when THEY want to talk, not when YOU want to talk. In my experience, kids are the most willing and sometimes eager to talk, when they first get out of school, mealtimes around a table, and bedtime. Don’t allow your smartphone or your favorite television show to appear to be more important than your kids!
- Good parents are intentional about the environment they create at home.
The “atmosphere” of your home, or the “soil” your kids grow out of is vitally important. Kids are seriously and deeply impacted by their experiences within the home. Home should be a place of peace, hope, calmness, laughter, and encouragement. Home should ooze with the feelings of acceptance, warmth and love. Discouragement, criticism, and sarcasm are things that our kids should only encounter “out there,” not at home.
- Good parents teach their children to love God.
Here are Jim’s comments on this point,
“More than anything, children learn to love God by watching and listening to their mom and dad. Parents can take them to church, read them Bible stories and give them opportunities to be involved with others at church. However, nothing is more powerful than when a boy or girl gets a front row seat to witness their own mother or daddy live out their own faith walk with God. They can tell by how we live, how we speak, and what we value just how serious we are about God.”
So, what do YOU think about Jim’s list?
Do you agree with the items on his list?
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