I have four children. As I raised them, we followed (and still do) some basic principles that have been beneficial to our family. We aren’t perfect. We share as a way of spurring discussion and helping in even a small way.
Here are three. Next week, we will look at some more.
- Admit it.
On a regular basis (around once a quarter) we get the family together and ask the kids one simple question:
What can we do to improve as parents?
This has given them freedom to be honest. One time my son told me: “Dad, I think sometimes you lie. You promise to take us to eat ice cream and something always comes up.” I wanted to defend my job, my calling, and my reasons. I didn’t. I admitted I was wrong. Sought to improve.
One benefit of doing this regularly is that it helps when the tables are turned. Open dialogue and freedom to express your perspective are central to our house.
- Show up.
I loved to play sports, but my dad never attended my games. I promised myself I wasn’t going to do the same thing, but I did. Isn’t it amazing how we revert to the wrong way of doing it, because it was normal growing up. Healthiness requires intentionality and accountability. After God worked on me, it changed. I left meetings to be at their games. I want their memories to include me. I want to be in the pictures. Every choice you made disappoints someone. Don’t let it be your family.
- Healthy church.
I kept my children at the healthiest church of my district. Took a lot of flak for it, but looking back it was worth it. If they end up leaving one day, they won’t be able to point to the dysfunction in the local church as a reason. Healthy churches matter.
I want to pray for your children. Send me their names and I will pray for them this week.