When my first child, Josiah was born, I felt like someone had picked me up and threw me in the deep end of the swimming pool called fatherhood. 16 years later I’m still treading water ever!
As parents many times we are overwhelmed with a lot of different emotions that all add up to feeling inadequate for the job description of mom and dad. That shouldn’t come as a surprise because none of us were born parents we become parents. We choose to become better parents through the mistakes we make, the failures we experience, and also the small victories along the way that give us courage to keep becoming the best mom or dad we can be.
I’ve had my share of feeling like a father failure instead of a father figure, but I’m reminded that even in my greatest weakness as a dad, God’s grace shows itself strong. I didn’t learn how to be a dad before I became one, but I’ve picked up some valuable principles along the way by learning and watching others that have helped us build some really good kids.
Here are 5 Timeless Parenting Principles that have helped us become better parents:
1. Pray Over Your Kids – I’ve always declared a prayer over my kids since they were young. It goes something like this. “Lord, I thank you for Josiah’s/Mariah’s destiny. I pray that they would be Champions for You and World Changers.” It’s crazy, but God has really answered that simple prayer in the life of my kids. When I reflect on the life and achievements of my kids, I say to myself, “who are these kids?”
2. Discipline Your Kids – As hard as it was, Proverbs 13:24 helped us help our kids. it says, “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” Notice the scripture says we must be careful to discipline them. There is a careful discipline that destines our kids for greatness and a careless discipline that does more harm than good. We weren’t perfect, but we were careful most of the time!
3. Spend Time with Your Kids – We are a huge sports family, so since our kids were like 4 years old our Saturdays have been spent on a baseball field, soccer field, football field or a basketball court. We have been our kids #1 fans and have always been present in the stands or out on the field coaching. The most important thing is your kids knowing no matter what they choose to do that you are there!
4. Praise Your Kids - I always tell others my kids are 10x better than I was at anything I ever did because it true! I tell my kids the same. Not so they get puffed up, but so they recognize that God has given them talent, skills and gifts that God wants to use and open doors for them. Giving them praise has raised their personal expectations and enlarged their God given dreams.
5. Be an Example to Your Kids - The other night Josiah was asked the question who is the person you admire the most. He said, “his dad!” I can’t tell you how good that felt because I haven’t been the perfect dad or a perfect person, but I’ve tried my best to practice what I preach. My kids “catch” me all the time reading my bible, worshipping Jesus in private, praying in my chair or reading a good book. It’s the little things that that our kids see that make a huge impact in their lives.
I hope these timeless principles that others have taught me bring you a lifetime of joy and good memories with your children while they are still at home. I know I have a lot to learn as I now see good friends of mine sending their kids off to college. Not sure I will be ready for that, but it’s coming sooner than I want it too. I’m watching, learning and taking notes!
What are some great parental skills you’ve learned from others?