Do you ever feel like you are failing?
Like your kids are making all the wrong decisions and no matter what you do they aren't following your guidance?
We often give ourselves a pass or fail as a parent based on our children's choices. We feel good about ourselves as parents when they stand up against peer pressure, but feel like failures when they give in.
When our kids excel we feel like we must be doing something right. But if they are failing at something then we must be too.
Our end goal, on a basic level, as parents is to have competent, functioning members of society. We add in other markers that tell us if we are successful based on our belief systems. Like for myself, I want my children to have personal, deep, faithful relationships with Christ. That isn't a goal for everyone, but because of what I believe my prayer is that they will find God aswell.
The problem with basing our success as parents on our children is that they have choices.
I know that as parents we get to experience our children making choices we don't like or agree with. From a young age our children learn that they get to choose. They can choose to listen to you or they can choose not to, we just try to teach them that there is a consequence to their choice.
My dad would always say, " if you do this... then this will happen..." We always knew that there was a consequence and that our parents would always follow through. There was never any second guessing the outcome, but we did have the choice.
See thats the issue, if our kids did exactly as we told them all the time we could ensure that they turned out exactly how we wanted them too.
Doesn't that sounds familiar.
God could have made us like that. But he chose to give us a choice. And we failed. We failed miserably. Not just Adam and Eve, we all fail, we all live in sin. God gave them a choice and he has given us all the choice.
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
He knows what the best choice is. He wants us to choose him. He stands at the door and knocks. He doesnt barge in and force us to obey, he allows us to choose.
He is the best dad there is or has ever been and yet his children make bad choices, make him look bad, and run away from him.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."
He is such a gentle and loving father that he allows us to mess up and make mistakes. He lets us learn from our failures and he has his arms open to us when we turn back to him.
Our success as parents is not based on how our children turn out. It is based on wether or not we have done all that we could to help and guide our children. If we have done what God has called us to as parents, then we have succeeded. Even if our children make bad decisions, if we have done our job we have succeeded.
When they fail, we need to take our Fathers example and show them love. God gives many examples of people failing and him continuing to bless and love them. Like the parable of the Lost Son. We need to welcome them back, love them and bless them after they have failed.
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.Luke 15:17-24