I slept under four hours last night. My 3 year-old daughter had a pretty bad cough so I had to sit and prop her up till about 1am so she could breathe easier. At 4:45am my 8 month old decided she was ready to take on her Wednesday with an early start. There are so many moments in parenting that remind me that I am not sufficient. The example of my parents and other parents is helpful but in those late night hours and early morning moments I’ve come to appreciate more and more how to be a great parent I need to parent like Jesus lived.
1. Answer questions with questions
My kids ask really obvious questions. They know the answers but there’s something in them that causes question asking of known information. It can be very tiring to answer these questions and in fact it can be irresponsible. If we answer every question as parents then our kids don’t strengthen their own discovery muscles. When Jesus was confronted with questions he often replied not an answer, but another question. If you want to stay sane and patient with your kids and help their development then answer their questions with a question as often as you can. They’ll thank you for it…someday.
2. Express you love in continued patience
It would seem that patience assumes continuation but in parenting we learn the meaning of continued patience. Patience you see, is a resource. Resources run out over time. So we must practice the kind of patience that continues beyond our own natural strength. To show your children you love them practice continued patience. Jesus is so patient when we read the stories of his disciples fighting over who would get the best seat in his Kingdom, or their inability to understand His parables. He loved them by exercising continued patience. I’ve never regretted being patient with my kids.
3. Sacrifice and then rest (repeat)
The reason they have you put your own mask on in the case of an emergency on an airplane is so that you have the strength to assist your children. You need to be able to breathe to be able to help them. Parenting done well is a difficult job. It takes tremendous patience and ruins your plans on a regular basis. This is life as a parent. The key to surviving and thriving as a parent is to build in times to rest because your kids will have more demands. Jesus obviously sacrificed a tremendous amount when He was a live but He did so by getting away and finding rest. You’re not a good parent when you’re tired. You’re not fun to be around and you don’t love your kids as well when you haven’t fed your mind, body and soul. If you love your kids then stop sacrificing ALL the time and find time to rest.
Do you parent like Jesus? How could you improve as a parent?