I’m revisiting my very first Let’s Parent on Purpose topic ever, and I need to remember this perspective just as much today.

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

Hebrews 12:1-4 ESV

I love the reminder that we need endurance for this race.  And I love remembering that the “witnesses”, the great Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11, were largely a bunch of dysfunctional parents who could barely keep their children from killing on another.  I mean, at least none of my children have ever sold each other into slavery, right?

As you listen to the podcast, don’t forget these three important reminders to help you parenting:

  1. Think long term – you’re not raising kids to be obedient to you, but to be responsible, helpful kids that will thrive in society. It’s not just doing what you say, they need to learn to make independent decisions that are right, whether you’re around or not. But that means they’re going to have to have chances to choose and make mistakes along the way.
    Think about these questions, and how you can encourage them towards these goals a little bit at a time each day:
    – What do I want my chid to be like by the time they are a high school senior or out of my house?
    – What kind of grandkids do I want to have?
  2.  Failure is an excellent teacher – Nothing motivates change like blowing it.  Go back and revisit their mistakes in a calm, rational way.  Talk through how they might “redo” the opportunity if they had it to do over again (because they probably will). Sometimes there’s a consequence, sometimes the embarrassment of failure is enough. But talk them through their failure, and remember:
    – If your child is afraid to admit your failure, you’re missing golden teaching opportunities.  Is it because they are a people pleaser or because you overreact?
    – When you fail as well in parenting, sometimes it’s wise to readdress the way you are doing things. New life, a new amount of kids, and different seasons add new challenges.  Sometimes you have to change the way YOU are doing things.  Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
  3. Discipline for what you want them to be, not just for what you don’t want to happen
    – Think about a well disciplined army or sports team.  They’re not “well punished” or “afraid of their coach”.  They do what’s right and thrive.
    – Train and reward and reinforce what you want, not just add consequences for bad.
    – Every chance you can get to praise them for what they are doing well, you can really shape them and you’ll spend less energy on the punishment end.
    Make a quick list: what are a couple of character habits I want my child to grow and develop? Make a conscious choice to reinforce and praise every time you see it.

Parenting is hard work.  But if you are in Christ, you have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside you to help you do what’s right and best.  And God loves your kids even more than you!  Don’t get too discouraged or elated about how this week is going.

Parenting is a marathon, not a sprint!