Parenting: Hang in There!

Good morning – this is our last week of our short pep talk series on parenting.  And to day my wife Jody and I are going to just chat with you all a bit about some of the things we’ve learned from others in the way of parenting that we found very helpful, personally.

We mentioned that the goal of a parent is to provide biblical standards and a secure environment while our children grow up to adults.  And we mentioned that there is no such thing as a perfect parent – only an intentional parent.

You know – I take some measure of relief when I read about how one time when Mary and Joseph went on a tripto Jerusalem – they traveled in large caravans – and on the way home – apparently Mary must have been at the back of the caravan with friends – and Joseph must have been at the front of the caravan – and they each thought that Jesus was with the other.  And so at the end of the day – they meet up and say – where’s Jesus?  Oh – I thought he was with you.  We left him a full day’s journey back there in Jerusalem.  I wonder what that conversation was like between Mary and Joseph.

Very human of them – and very kind of the Lord to keep that story in the book – you might think Mary would say – let’s not include that part okay?  I mean – what will people think of us as parents.  And I imagine God comforting her – Mary – 2000 years from now parents will still be slipping on banana peels of parenting – they are going to need a little encouragement.

Mary and Joseph weren’t naturally born parents any more than you or I.  We all learn along the way.

We’re going to mention about seven things we picked up along the way – and you will notice that this is as much a thank you note to all the people who taught us tings about intentional parenting that we now look back on with gratitude.

1.  Phil – I’d like to thank Scott Tillinghast for teaching me something very important without ever saying a word to me. (Josh with hands on pants)

It taught us that our kids are watching us!  And so we wanted to model love and respect to our kids as much as possible.

  • with our words by…
    • Jody says.   We agreed to never complain to the kids about one another.
    • Phil says…  Not speaking poorly about brother and sister – try our best to defend the one not in the room.  That’s part of the secure environment.  Here you are safe from people talking smack behind your back.
  • With our actions –
    • Jody says – shout out to Nancy Cobb for teaching us to model respect and love by practicing  “good take offs and landing.”
    • Phil – says – Shout out to Pastor Warner who taught me that the we aren’t modeling perfection – we are modeling repentance.  We wanted to model for our kids the healing power of small sentences – like I am sorry.  I was wrong.  Please forgive me.
    • Jody says…  Becca story of I will always forgive you.

2.  Jody talks about Team We are a team.  Team Human.  And we tried to parent equally and the same.  Reminding ourselves that we are a team was important – especially when we disagreed- we wanted the same things for our kids – but sometimes we disagreed with one another.  We’d say – Okay – time out – just a reminder we are on the same team here.  We want the same thing – even if we are just disagreeing.

Phil says….  we were a team when it came to discipline.   We disciplined at the time of event and then moved on. (Shout out to Kent Julian who taught me a phrase – this chapter is now over.  And so let’s turn the page and begin a new one.)

Phil – I really appreciated that Jody didn’t do the old – “Wait until you father gets home.” routine.  I grew up in that routine where my poor mother didn’t know what to do with us and would threaten us with serious discipline when my 6’5” father came home.  The result was we were scared every time my dad came home.  We never go to be excited that dad was home.

Jody says….  Phil did a good job of getting me out enough – including getting out at night for a couple of hours or to go away for women’s retreat – leaving him with three kids.

3.  Phil  – Shout out to Josh McDowell – The importance of relationships with the kids….  Josh McDowell – Phil says…  Rules without relationships leads to rebellion.  Playing together.  Do things with them.

Jody says…   Phil did a great job playing with the kids. 

Phil says…    Every Christmas we bought each kid a board game and tried to do family game nights…  Apples to Apples .  Jody is more the conversationalist – question asker.  And she was the one who would get the kids talking about things… her strength –

Jody – Word of thanks to Julie Moessner for teaching us that the best toys don’t have batteries.

  • Phil – We tried to plan to celebrate certain milestones with the kids.  10 year old trip – locally.  Great Wolf Lodge.
  • Jody – 13 year old – purity and sex and faith.  Tim and I went to Wrestlemania!  Josh and I went to California and Disneyland.  Jody went to Disney world.
  • Phil -16 year old – missions trip to Haiti.

4.  Jody – The importance of honoring our kids. 

Jody -Shout out to Mops – Blue Plate Special –

Phil says…  Jody learned a great phrase – instead of asking how was your day.  (Fine)  the question was, “What was the best part of your day?”  What was the worst?

5.  Phil – Be intentional about their spiritual lives.  We tried to be intentional without being programmatic.

  • Phil says…   We tried to have family devotions when younger – it was harder to keep that thing going as they got older.
  • Jody says…   We looked for teachable moments in the car… etc.  Shout out to Donna Carlson – incorporating play into spiritual life.
  • Phil says – we liked to read books together and talk about the spiritual implications – we read chronicles of Narnia – or even the Harry Potter series – and talked about parallels.  How far along are you?
  • Jody says…   Serving is an important aspect – tried to serve.  We have service expectations.  (We serve because you are part of this family, not because Dad’s a pastor)  We are very proud though of how hard they serve – willingly serve today.

Phil says – Parents – when it comes to your son or daughters faith Journey – can I share one thing that I learned that encouraged me and I want to encourage you too?  One thing I read one time from a book called how to parent your teen without losing your mind.  They taught me about the bubble.  There us usually a bubble – where your son or daughter will draw away from your faith as they try to find something that fits them.  And it can be torture because you watch them go away from your maybe believing exactly like you do – And often they come back around as they get a little older.  There are many chapters yet to be written in your child’s journey with God.  So don’t give up and don’t stop praying.

Jody says — do all you can to keep your relationship strong – no matter how far their arch goes.   Don’t have to preach at them, but maintain biblical standards – love unconditionally.

Phil – Scott Slocum – you are always loved by us.

Jody – a word too about how parenting affects the spiritual life of parents.  We remember Mrs. Warner – I never knew I had murder in my heart until I had children.  I remember yelling at the kids – and the windows were open!

6.  Jody – Friendships – Shout out to Mark and Diane Bristol

  • Jody says – Friends who are in the same season as you are…  Friends who are ahead of us on the journey…  Importance of friends along the way…  to ask questions – people like the Vickers – to bounce ideas off of…  and support one another.
  • Phil says – The greatest thing to discover is that you are normal.

Closing encouragements –

Jody – how often Jesus had to remind the disciples.

Phil – your teenager is not evil they are inexperienced.  Their brains are catching up and they will do dumb things.  And every middle school student I ever met was dying for someone to take them seriously.

“Parenting may well be the most demanding task a person can face and one for which most of us feel unprepared.  Each season of parenting has it’s own special demands with the teenage years being the most challenging

You’re entering a time of incredible transition.  But not everything will or should change.  You are still the parent.  Your child still needs you, your unconditional love, your gently guidance and direction, your discipline, your protection, your affection.

While they might never admit it to you, your teenagers desperately need you and want you to take an active role in their lives.