On Saturday I officiated a funeral for a 17 year old young man who was murdered. Amidst all the pain, confusion, and unanswered questions, there was faith, hope, and a great sense of redeeming the time. I pray many of the students there will never be the same, never take a day for granted, and never again trust in themselves. It’s hard not to sit in the hospital room praying for a miracle as a dad over the role of pastor. And that’s one way that I’ve been pushed forward … as a dad with no regrets. If that were one of my kids I’d just said goodbye to, I want nothing left unsaid or undone in my God-given place in their lives. So, some actions on no-regret parenting I commend to myself … and to you if you desire.
1. To never let a day go by without using words to express love.
I’m an emotional man, and I don’t have a hard time with words of affirmation, but I still get tired, lazy, selfish. I will push past those selfish times and feelings to make sure I craft heartfelt, clear, direct words of love to my children. Should I miss a day and that be the last for one of my children, I want to make sure they have heard words from their dad of his love and affection for them. Now I have three boys, I know they won’t always want to hear what I have to say, but I will say it nonetheless.
2. To never let a day go by without praying with my kids.
I love to pray, but I do it with people often being a pastor. So it’s easy to again get lazy with my own family. A late night and a quick rush them off to bed and a skipping of our prayer time together. Nope! It’s never too late to pray a simple pray of thanks and joy over them to our God.
3. To never preach at them without listening to them.
I like to preach, its what I do as part of my job … and I believe in the power of Godly instruction from the Word, and they need it. But, I want soft hearts toward the Word and my instruction, not numb, hard, fakey pastor-kid hearts. So, as instruction is needed it will be accompanied with an ear to hear. When they do dumb things, I will do more than just lecture them, giving them both a bad taste for parental authority and missing a delightful Christianity.
4. To always help them see God’s perspective in a matter.
It’s always a fight to see life God’s way and not ours. Always easier to think with myself at center … what a crafty lie of Satan. I resist the insincere Christian home, and the forced “family worship.” But thankfully that’s not what is required of me. My marching orders are to take the everyday stuff of life and help my children see God’s hand, love, and grace in it. I will help my children see life as worship and God’s perspective on sports, relationships, schoolwork, and work.
5. To make family fun.
I want them to see me kissing on their mom. I want them to laugh when I do something stupid. I want them to rejoice when one of us does something great. I want them to care when one of us hurts. I want them to like to be together and be disappointed when something gets in the way of that. Now, I’m not being pie-in-the-sky unrealistic about this, because I’ve seen it with families, and I want it for mine.
I know, nothing earth-shaking here, nothing new or “radical”, but nothing like death to remind you of the great high calling of parenting and a commitment to give it your all to the glory of God. It doesn’t happen by accident and thankful doesn’t happen by our hard work alone. God pours grace out on homes where He is worshipped. So pour it on dear God, pour it on!
A Dad after My Dad’s Heart,