If you are bold enough to grow in this area of your life, I encourage you to read on. I hesitate to write an article on poor parenting for a number of reasons. First, everyone thinks that they are a good if not great parent, so they think these articles are for other parents. Second, parenting is one of the most prideful and most sensitive areas of our lives so we are not open to help. We automatically seem to resist any suggestions that we could improve in this area. Third, because Caryl and I are not perfect parents and we do not have perfect kids. We can be criticized for thinking that we are better than others, but that is not true. Yet, the truth must stand; your parenting influences your children (and grandchildren).
First let me say, that if you are reading this, you are probably a good parent. I have come across some “bad” parents, but most are good parents. They are parents that love their children and want to give them all the advantages of life that they can afford. I would see the basic requirement to be a good parent would involve meeting the basic needs of your children (food, clothing, shelter and love). Yet, if you want to be a great parent, you are going to need to take your involvement to the next level. The next level involves training the heart. It goes beyond striving for external conformity to family values, academics and sports expectation to focusing on the child’s heart. This requires us to address attitudes, like the toddler’s poochy lip, the middler’s sighs or the teen’s rolling of the eyes. Yes, you might get conformity but what is really happening on the inside.
This past Sunday in our “No Excuses” series we focused on “Living by Choosing to Grow” which focused on Joseph, the son of Jacob. Joseph was a man that came from what we could call today “a dysfunctional family.” While this was not the main focus of the message, you cannot avoid the obvious challenges and difficulties of blended families and poor parenting. I develop this in detail in the message. The point I want to make here is that Joseph avoided the gravitational pull of his family by continuing to grow.
So how does this relate to poor parenting? First, Joseph’s grandfather, Laban was a self-focused man. Many of the troubles in Joseph’s family can be traced to his manipulation. His switching of daughters on Jacob’s wedding night resulted in Jacob marrying Rachel’s sister. This problem was compounded by Jacob’s greater love for Rachael. The competition for love between the two women resulted in the family growing to four wives with 12 sons. Jacob, Joseph’s father, did not help the situation by giving special treatment to his favorite wife’s children, Joseph and Benjamin. This dysfunction carried over into the other sons to the point where they resented their brother, they had taken action to kill him but then sold him into slavery.
Now, the story has a great ending because Joseph chose not to hold onto the past and gave his best for God in each situation. The result of his choosing to grow resulted in the restoration and rescue of his family (of course it was through God’s blessing). But what I want us to grasp is that our parenting does matter. Yes, God’s grace can redeem poor parenting, but He also blessed Godly parenting! It is my hope that you would work at moving from good to great (Here is a good place to start.) “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
-Pastor Joe Parkinson