41 Things Parents Ought to Know (Part 2 of 4)

11.  Pay now or pay later.  Allowing smaller children to disobey, talk disrespectfully, and experience little discipline will usually come back to haunt parents later.  Better to pay the price of dealing with these behaviors and attitudes early before it gets even more difficult.


12.  Parenting is a ministry.  Your children have been loaned to you as a gift from God.  This is a stewardship issue.  How will I manage the children who are in my home for a very short time?


13.  Create a special time for you and your child to be together.  For our children, this was something we referred to as "special days."  Basically this was a time when I took each one to McDonald’s (or elsewhere) for alone, unhurried time.   This started when they were very small and continued (in some form) even through high school.  As they grew older, this time often helped me see where they were in their relationship with God.


14.  Children need their parent’s undivided attention on a regular basis.  One visible way to communicate this is by turning off the cell phone in their presence so they can see that at this moment, nothing is more important than this conversation.


15.  Children learn a lot about marriage by watching how mom and dad talk with one another.   They even learn how to forgive and deal with mistakes by watching their parents relate to each other. 


16.  Television is great but be careful about letting it take over the family.  We chose to turn the television off when we ate meals together.  Just being together and checking in with one another was far more important.


17.  Families gain something by eating together.  In our family, this has typically been the evening meal.  When our children were in high school, this was much more difficult to schedule.  Even then, we tried to plan evening meals together several times a week.  For our family, this time was very valuable.


18.  Create a home that is a breath of fresh air for the family.  Many of us deal with lots of stress in our work.  Our children are dealing with stress at school.  Make home inviting rather than a place that adds more stress.  This is easier said than done but parents can still have this as their intent. 


19.  Kids need to see that mom and dad treasure Jesus above everything else.  One way they see this is when parents make practical decisions which place Jesus and his desires first.


20.  Think about the disposition you are modeling before your children.  Years ago, we were about to move from Alabama to Kansas City, Mo.  I was concerned about the impact of such a move on our small children.  A wise father told me, "They will take their ques from you.  If you are calm and see this as a great adventure, they will be just fine.  However, if you are anxious, on edge, and uptight about all of this, they will also react the same way."  Wise words that I have remembered on many occasions.

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7 thoughts on “41 Things Parents Ought to Know (Part 2 of 4)

  1. Jim: Two of these in particular (#12 and 15) struck a chord with me (but in an acappella sort of way). One was that our children are a ministry. We raised our children with that in mind and I’ve counseled dozens of young mothers to get off the guilt trip over not being so involved “at church” when their ministry was in their home at that point in time. So what have we gained if we’re very involved in programs and lose our children?
    The second was that our children learn a lot from how we communicate as parents. I’m officiating (hate that term, as it sounds like I’ll be wearing a black / white striped shirt and carrying a whistle) my son’s wedding in July. I am so thankful that both he and his fiance grew up in homes where Christ was honored and they’ve seen loving, healthy mother / father relationships. It puts them far down the road toward success!

  2. Jim, I’ve really been enjoying your “41” lists. Great stuff, especially the parenting admonitions. I am realizing though, that even when you do everything “right” your kids sometimes insist on taking a journey to the far country. I used to be much harsher on the failings of parents (and no doubt there were real failings), but as I get to the far end of the parenting spectrum, my heart has softened for those whose kids aren’t turning out picture perfect, despite their best efforts.

  3. Do you find the sycophantic responses nauseating, Jim? Is it an aspect of American culture to be positive to the point of repugnance?

  4. John,
    You are exactely right. As you noted, one can do the right things but that doesn’t guarantee they won’t make some poor choices or make a detour. Parents who are dealing with children at these places need lots of mercy and encouragment.

    My heart goes out to you, John, in what sounds like some real difficulties.