This goat is a part of our family right now. He is Jamie’s goat and he lives in the school "Ag" barn. He is a show goat and his name is Pollyanna (don’t ask me why this goat has a female name! Sounds like goat abuse). Jamie feeds this goat twice a day and eventually will have to "show’" the goat. Getting this goat ready sounds like a lot of work.
So is being a parent.
We feed our kids (usually more than twice a day!). We get our kids ready to "show." We get them ready to live in this world. Yet, it is difficult to be a parent, very difficult. Typically, we parents are all too aware of where we fall short.
We parents feel guilt–easily, readily, and often. I remember when our oldest daughter was just a toddler and walked over to a gas heater and burned her hand. She screamed and screamed. I felt horrible–and guilty.
We parents may feel guilty that our children are not on the "fast track" to learning. Of course the child is only three years old. I’ve known young parents who felt guilty regarding their child’s learning. (And the child isn’t even in kindergarten yet!).
We feel guilty when our children struggle in school and we remember that we struggled with math as well. "I’m sorry that I can’t help you any more than this." (I feel guilty that I didn’t do a better job in math in school so that I could help her in algebra).
We feel guilty when our children don’t excel. Especially when you learn that another parent invested time and money in getting her child additional help. Now her child is doing so much better. Now you feel guilty that you never got your child that kind of help.
We feel guilty about time spent working. Some parents then shower their kids with expensive toys to somehow compensate for this.
We feel guilty when our children do wrong. "I’ve failed as a parent. I can’t believe that he did this. I taught him right and wrong. He’s been brought up in the church and has been very active in the youth group. Where did I go wrong?"
The truth is…You will always be an incomplete, imperfect, faulty parent. Only God is the perfect parent. The key to parenting is not to wallow in your failures. Rather, it is to point them toward the only "parent" who is perfect, God himself. There is something very freeing about that.
My two children do not and will not ever have a perfect Dad. But I do hope that will be able to say, that I pointed them toward the one who is perfect. (If this is something that resonates with you, you might enjoy reading Gary Thomas’ Sacred Parenting.)