We had our first “Parents Night Out” last night where a dozen of us went to applebees and left our kids with babysitters at the church after a brief time of encouragement. I wanted to share some of what was shared with everyone who missed. Like all parenting books and advice, its like “I’m drowning here, and you’re asking me to do more, more more..” The answer is YES, our kids need more. But read to the end, we want you to be energized by God to be better parents, and heal from your past. We want to be there for eachother, and just feed off each others energy & accountability and be energized by the Holy Spirit. I really hope this is a timely word of challenge and encouragement for you.
Providing structure for your kids. (Especially for kids under 10)
- Consider towns notorious for giving tickets. If cops cried, hit the car, begged you to stop (or just laughed cause they know you’ll never change). it wouldn’t work, but when you know you get hit with a big ticket every time. It works. Consider how 30 kids walk in single line in school. BE THE MOM OR DAD WHO IS REALLY CONSISTENT.
- ANTICIPATE YOUR CHILDS NEEDS AS THE GROW. Don’t parent the sweet kids you loved a year ago, as they grow older they need you in new ways. It may seem they need you less, but they just need you in different ways.
- On the one hand there needs to be super clear boundaries your kids know they can never cross, on the other hands you need to CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES very carefully, and save your energy to fight and win those battles overwhelming. You are in charge!
Scripture to study, meditate and memorize. (Proverbs 22:6, Ephesians 6:4, Deuteronomy 6:7)
Reaching your child’s heart.
- DEPOSIT LOVE when you hit the ATM or EBT card, you can’t take out what’s hasn’t been put in. Tell your kids you love them and show your kids you love them. You got to do a heart check at the end of the day or the end of the week sometimes, are my kids going to wonder if I loved them, or are they going to feel my disappointment and frustration more.
- DEPOSIT TRUST we tend to either shelter our kids, or let them loose, but we got to intentionally deposit trust in our kids. We are preparing them for life. This is best done gradually and with purpose. For example walking a kid to the corner store to get milk, getting to know the shop owner, and then sending them off on their own.
- DEPOSIT TRUTH what will your kids know about right and wrong? What do they know about God? What will they know about sex and drugs, about friendships and love? Nobody else has the kind of influence that you do on your kids, what are you putting in their heads and hearts?
Scripture to study, meditate and memorize. (Ephesians 6:4, Matthew 6:21, Proverbs 3:5, Romans 12:2, Exodus 20)
Not putting your identity & happiness on your kids success.
- REMEMBER YOUR KIDS CAN’T BEAR THE WEIGHT OF YOUR HAPPINESS AND IDENTITY. You’ve got to separate your identity from your children, look up what enmeshment is, it’s where you don’t really know where you begin and they end.
- You can not shoot your kids to the stars from the gutter. The best thing your kids can see from you is your grind, so they may miss you a couple nights so you can get that training, work that extra shift to pay off that debt, bring food, or sit with family and friends going through it (include them!). Your kids will imitate whats important to you, and how you live, they will not just follow what you say. GOOD MORALS ARE CAUGHT, MORE THAN TAUGHT.
- EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE STRATEGIES REQUIRES A TON OF ENERGY, ENCOURAGEMENT AND A DEEP SOURCE OF LOVE. This is why you desperately need community, praying for you, keeping you accountable. If you don’t know how much GOD accepts you, even when you mess up, Parenting will be so hard. Parenting is a high, hard and holy calling. You have to find your identity outside of it, to be a good parent. Take care of your body, and your soul, just like how you’ve got to get the oxygen mask on yourself, before you can put it on your kid on a plane. It may seem utterly unnatural but if you don’t you and your kids are going to be knocked out.
- DEAL WITH YOUR PAST, our parenting strategies come from what we know and seen. The good news is you can confess your past failures as a parent, it is the most freeing thing in the world. You can call out to God to heal you of the wounds of your own childhood and seek Church community, your pastor and at times help from a professional counselor.
Scripture to study, meditate and memorize. (Romans, 6:6, James 1:5, Galatians 5:22-23, Romans 12:2, Philippians 3:13-14, Isaiah 43:18-19)
Listen to the sermon ‘The false God of family’