Parenting is not a popularity contest nor is doing what is best for your kids long term going to put happy little faces on them short term.
The scriptural principle of life and eternity found in 1 Corinthians 13 applies well to the “bigger picture” viewpoint a parent has in relationship to a 10-year-old who wants an unfiltered iPad or a 16-year-old who wants to go to an unchaperoned party at a friend’s house.
“I don’t like you.” “I hate you.” “You don’t trust me.” “You just don’t understand.” “It’s not like when you were growing up.” “If I don’t go, I’ll be so unpopular at school.” “Everyone has one.” “Everyone else is going.” Etc., etc., etc. Sometimes a parent gets worn down by such pleadings which can cloud your better judgment!
Your son has made a commitment (with your blessing) to someone or some organization and a “better” opportunity comes up. What is the best family decision long term?
Your daughter wants to join a traveling sports team that will require the family to sacrifice family unity, family dinners, attending Sunday church together, family devotionals and quality time at home. What is the best family decision long term?
A child wants a computer or television in the privacy of his/her room. What’s the best family decision long term?
Your child’s ten best friends are having a party. In your gut, you don’t have a peace about the “unknowns” surrounding it. What’s the best decision long term?
How important is attending Sunday church together long term?
How important are bedtime, parent-child devotionals long term?
How important is it for a child to have a pure heart, free from unbearable social media pressures, long term?
Colossians 3:15 gives some super practical parenting advice when it exhorts us in decision making, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; any be thankful.”
Matthew 5:37 echos, “But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.”
Proverbs 25:11 chimes in, “Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.”
A winning coach, CEO or parent is not successful in the long haul unless that individual knows when to agree or disagree and has the courage to back up the wisdom that is found in his/her heart.
I definitely wasn’t the most popular parent in my house during the growing up years; neither was my wife. During a middle school discussion, I asked my son, “What’s your favorite quality about your mom?” His answer surprised me. “She’s firm.” When Debbie-Jo put her foot down, the kids knew that size 6 ½ shoe wasn’t going to budge an inch! I loved that about her. Today, she is our kids’ hero.
We wanted to be liked, popular and appreciated when our kids turned 23 and looked back on the boundaries and standards we set when they were in the throws of growing up.
I hope this letter finds you in a time where you need such encouragement.