The following are concluding characteristics of good parents. You probably have in mind something I’ve missed. At the moment, these are my top ten. (The other five were in the last post).
A good parent prays for his/her children. One of he greatest privileges I have as a parent is to pray for my children. It occurred to me a few years ago, if I’m not praying for my children, then who is? I pray for my children in both the “big and little” things of life. I pray for their protection against the evil one. Most of all, I pray that they might come to love God and treasure him above all else.
A good parent is gracious. Her children see the way their mom treats people. They see her graciousness in the way she talks with the person at H.E.B. or Walmart. They witness graciousness in the way mom or dad relates to their friends. These children see graciousness in the way their parents relate to one another. No smart aleck talk between mom and dad. No put downs. These parents exude grace.
Good parents understand that kids first learn about the grace of God not in theological explanations but in lives of their mom and dad.
A good parent builds an atmosphere of encouragement. You’ve seen them. Moms and dads who love their children and yet, for whatever reason, constantly discourage and frustrate them. This may be the dad who regularly second guesses his son or daughter. He communicates doubt instead of confidence. Consequently, his son or daughter grows up to be hesitant, afraid to step out and risk, and unsure of himself. A good parent communicates that she believes in her children. Regardless of their age, children need parents who are encouragers.
A good parent creates an atmosphere of joy and laughter at home. I know a father who looks like he is miserable much of the time. I suspect there is little laughter in his home. How sad! Our children live in a tough world. At school they may feel tremendous social pressure, hear many put downs, and yet have to deal with the pressure of grades, the future, etc. “Home” should be a place where we look forward to being at the end of the day. A good parents works to create a home that is a place of warmth, acceptance, and laughter.
A good parent realizes that one of the best gifts that he can offer his children is himself. Too many parents try to buy their way to their children’s hearts. I’ve been around many teens during the last eight years. I have not known any who I thought were deprived by having to drive an older model car, etc. However, I have known a number of teens whose parents were too busy for them and unavailable emotionally. I have known several who received no moral or spiritual direction from their parents, whatsoever. Consequently, these kids felt as if their parents really did not know what was going on in their lives not to mention their hearts. My children need a parents who is fully engaged in their lives.
When my children were small, I would generally run every morning. I remember them asking me a few times, “Why do you run, Daddy?” My general answer was, “…so I can be your Daddy longer.” That is true on many levels. I bless my children when I take care of myself. When I spend time in daily prayer, reading Scripture, and perhaps reading a book that feeds me, I bless my children. I want to give them a dad (or mom) that takes care of himself.
These are my ten (for now). What would you add to these?