Yesterday’s message at Northridge Church in the series “Weird…because normal isn’t working” was about family. It was very convicting. I did a lot of squirming in my seat.
One of the main points was… intentional leadership in the home. I remember seeing a few of Nate Miller’s first few points and saying to myself…people actually do that?
I always had the good intentions…I just didn’t put much of those intentions into intentional behavior.
Our kids are pretty well grown…and as I sat listening I couldn’t help but think back and evaluate my parenting skills from the rear view mirror. It wasn’t pretty. You can use all the rationalization you want but in the end, every parent exercises leadership…intentional or not. I don’t want to say that it’s all on the parents…as our kids have real life-choices to make…and they do make them. But I think a good test of whether or not we got it right (at least for the Christian parent) is if our kids are following after Christ or someone/something else. Don’t get me wrong….we all want our kids to be happy and successful. But If I could only have one thing for my kids it would be that they know Christ as Savior and follow after him.
Thankfully once we’re parents…we never stop being parents,,,we may have less influence but they still listen. I am a 60 year old kid and still listen to my 85 year old parents…so all is not lost. Choices that our kids made early in life maybe because of our poor parental example can be overcome. Kids once far from the Lord can come close to Him. Wounds can heal. Broken hearts can be mended. Relationships restored.
But we never get a second shot at the first time. I wish I had known enough to take better advantage of all the “first times.”
It was a hard message to sit through…it brought back memories of some ugly behavior (on my part), and seemed to highlight myriad mistakes I know I made. By the end of the talk I was wishing I could go back and start over…parenting intentionally…unselfishly….the first time.
It’s a small comfort that we are all going to make mistakes as parents. We are going to blow it one way or another. We are going to see things in our kids as they grow that we know are more than just our DNA in them, but rather behavior we wish we had never modeled…habits we wish they had never learned from us.
This morning…at a much later start in life (but with all of our kids still at home)…I’m committing to be intentional with the way (and the style) I parent. Not because I think I can change all the dumb things I did back in the “first times” of family history…but because I’ll always be a parent to my kids. And as long as I can still fog a mirror and utter a few words…I can still be intentional in the way I live and the way I parent. You can too!