Reaching Your Parenting Potential

Reaching Your Parenting Potential - Parenting Like HannahI am an incredibly talented musician. Or not. You see, all I really know is that I pick up playing musical instruments more quickly than most, I can read music and my teachers said I had natural talent. The reality is, I have never put in enough practice or taken enough lessons to really know what the extent of my God-given musical talent is. I have been content to slide by and just enjoy using the little talent I have developed.

Did you know God gave you the potential to be an amazing parent? Probably not, because our world is filled with people telling us there are no perfect parents. They are right, but what they don’t understand is how important parenting is to God. If you don’t believe me, read Deuteronomy or Proverbs. Check out what happened because Eli, Samuel and others weren’t great parents. Parenting has enormous consequences for the future and it is very important to God.

Although there isn’t a specific scripture I can quote, I believe God gives every parent the potential to parent well. Notice I said potential. Just like I need lessons, practice and advice to reach my musical potential, you will need help reaching your parenting potential. So what kind of help can you use to reach that potential?

  • God – This should be so obvious, but is often overlooked. Read the Bible and see what God says directly about parents and parenting. Examine stories of parents in the Bible. Are their clues why their children turned out to be godly or ungodly? Pray constantly. Not just for your children, but for God to grant you parenting wisdom.
  • Successful Christian parents – While there are no perfect parents, there are many who have raised children who grew up to be faithful, productive Christians. You want these parents to mentor you on your journey. Listen carefully to what they did or did not do. Compare it to scripture and if it matches, you should probably strongly consider adding that to your parent skills.
  • Christian parenting blogs, books and workshops – Remember anyone can write a Christian parenting book or conduct a workshop. Double check their background before copying everything they say to do. Do they have grown children? Are they faithful? Those aren’t essentials (Some of the parenting advice I gave while a single non-parent I still stand by after seventeen years of parenting.), but you need to understand the person’s perspective. As with anything involving your faith walk, double check everything with the scriptures. Is the advice matching God’s commands and principles? If not, it doesn’t matter what it is called, it’s best to ignore anything going against God’s will.
  • Time and effort – I know I have said this a thousand times, but you cannot “phone in” parenting. Okay, technically you can, but the results are mixed at best. To fully reach your parenting potential (and to help your children reach all of their God given potentials), you absolutely must put in a lot of time and effort. A lot. While there are no guarantees, studies have shown time and time again intentional parenting has better, more consistent results than reactionary parenting.

I know you probably were like me and didn’t practice the piano nearly enough. I hope though, you realize the eternity changing importance of your parenting to your children. If you do, I think you will want to take the time and effort and do everything you can to reach your parenting potential.

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Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 11:18-19 NIV)