Parenting certainly has its rooftop moments.
Of course, I could mean that there are those precious times where everything is going well, you are clicking on all cylinders, and your home is right out of a 1950’s TV show. However, the rooftop moments I’m thinking of are those moments you find where you are actually on the roof with your kids.
Seven weeks from now, I’ll be preparing for a rehearsal dinner for our oldest daughter, Josie. Today is also our favorite artist, Libby’s, 21st birthday. Finally, in just a few months, we will be moving Owen and Phoebe to Washington, D.C. in the middle of their high school years. So, I’ve been doing a fair amount of thinking about parenting lately.
Let’s be honest; parenting is not only important it’s also hard work!
In Deut. 6, Moses reminds the people of the words of the LORD, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
Proverbs 22 instructs us, “Train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will not depart from it.”
And then there’s Ephesians 6, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
When our children are infants, there are the many sleepless nights. There is the wondering if you should go and get them or just let them cry themselves back to sleep. There is the agonizing over what foods to food them, and whether or not to use cloth or disposable diapers. Then there are the all the times we spend in our head wondering if we’re doing a good enough job parenting.
As our children get older, we find ourselves dealing with how to get the kids to go to bed and stay in bed, when to discipline, how to discipline, and perhaps, even, why our children aren’t responding to our discipline. At this age, we devote a fair amount of time to making sure our kids not how to act and behave around others. Then there are the all the times we spend in our head wondering if we’re doing a good enough job parenting.
Now, by the time we have “screen-agers” we find ourselves competing with Google as the primary source of information on, "How to live life?" (for our kids (for a great Barna group webcast on our GenZ teens - click here It says "Live", but you will watch an archive. Worth EVERY MINUTE). We struggle to keep up and stay in the loop with their ever-widening friend groups and interests. Of course, there is the changing nature of our oversight and discipline, and an increasing number of conflicts on decisions. Then there are the all the times we spend in our head wondering if we’re doing a good enough job parenting.
As they enter college age, we continue to shift from “primary overseer” to “primary encourager” (and perhaps bill payer). Our input and control continue to diminish even though we follow with great interest their successes and failures. Then there are the all the times we spend in our head wondering if we’re doing a good enough job parenting.
As our children come alongside us as adults, we work hard to find the right balance between parent and peer, while we long for the days they would ask to sit on our laps or join us on the rooftop. Then there are the all the times we spend in our head wondering if we’ve done a good enough job parenting.
As parents, most of us are keenly aware of the places where we have fallen short. We wish we had made more right decisions and we blame ourselves for every misstep our kids make. As I said, parenting is not only important it’s also hard work! God’s call to us as parents is as clear as it is strong.
I think it’s helpful to remember that whenever we fall short as parents, we are falling short as children – God’s children. Perhaps that doesn’t seem helpful at first, but I think it’s critically important.
Our Father entered into a relationship with us not expecting perfection, just willing obedience. He also entered into a relationship with His children as the God of steadfast love and mercy. Our Father is the God of forgiveness and grace.
We would do well to remember that our loving and universe creating Father is worthy of trusting Him to respond to our weakness and failures and to hear our prayers for help. He even sent his Son to teach us how to pray!
Perhaps we all need to spend a little less time thinking about ourselves as parents and a little more time thinking about ourselves as His loved and forgiven children.
Okay, kids, on with your day!