Every day we parents leave footprints for our family to follow. But parenting is not a game—a future generation of faith rests on us. There’s no doubt we are leaving tracks and our kids follow in our footsteps…at least for a while. So what is it going to take to have your children continue following your footprints? Here is my advice for leading well at home.
Living harmoniously as a family is an ongoing, intentional journey. The beginning of that journey is marked by great anticipation and genuine excitement. A bride and groom have high hopes and great dreams as they start out life together. However, as in all journeys, unexpected challenges pop up, including the arrival of children, which requires the couple to cultivate valuable parenting skills—without a handbook! At each age, from preschool through elementary school, each child requires his or her parents to make adjustments along the way to keep the relationships harmonious. Just about the time parents get their arms around all of that, the teenage years arrive! This stretching and complicated time calls for even more adjustments and a greater willingness to change if the parents hope to sustain harmony in the home. Then, after all that adapting, a new set of challenges arrives—the children reach adulthood, with minds of their own. Can there still be mutual respect and meaningful relationships in the family? Can harmony continue between parents and their grown-up kids? Absolutely! The question is, how?
When done well, one’s family becomes a sacred shelter of consistency and connection in a world of flux and change. At its best, home develops into the safe place where we can always go and be accepted for who we are.
Some of the most important memories we’re making with our children and grandchildren stem directly from our attitudes and actions toward them.
Your dad is not perfect; he would be the first to admit it. Nor is he infallible, much to his own regret. Nor altogether fair. Nor always right. But there’s one thing he is—always and altogether—he is your dad…the only one you’ll ever have.
Since our Lord is sovereign, not only are our times in His hands, so are all our possessions and all the people we love. Releasing our rights to Him includes the deliberate releasing of our grip on everything and everyone. Easy? Never.
I'm still learning that there is no virtue in reading about Abraham's obedience. I must obey his God. There is no virtue in studying Jesus' words. I must put them into practice. James said it best: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”