Have you ever met a person who is trying to break a bad habit? Many times they have attempted more than once – usually with minimal success. If you talk to them long enough, you will often hear a lot of excuses for why they can’t break the habit they know is only harming them.
Excuses go all the way back to the beginning and the Garden of Eden. When God asked Adam and Eve about what they had done, the excuses started flying. They sounded a lot like what you may have heard many times in your own home – “She made me do it”. “It was his fault”. The source of ideas for all of those excuses was Satan – the great excuse whisperer.
There are two problems with excuses and parenting. The first I hope is obvious. All of those excuses we have for not parenting our children the way we know God would want us to do come from the same source as Adam and Eve’s excuses. We are often more willing to listen to Satan’s lies than God’s truths. Why? Because Satan knows how to push our buttons and make us think the wrong way is easier, more popular or “smarter”.
The second issue with parenting excuses is the scariest in many ways. When we make excuses for not doing our absolute best to parent the way God would want us to do, we are not just hurting ourselves. We are hurting our children and quite possibly our descendants for multiple generations.
You may be thinking I am just trying to guilt you in to doing something that is too hard or unnecessary. I challenge you to watch one of those shows where extremely overweight people are placed on diets and exercise regimes. Notice why it works. Most of those shows control the environment and have a trainer basically forcing them to do what’s right until it becomes the new habit.
You can do the same thing with your parenting. Find a group of parents who are willing to put their very best efforts to raise children to be active, productive Christians. Identify people who have successfully raised children who are active adult Christians who are living their faith every day. Surround yourself with these people. Give them permission to “call you out” when they see you making poor parenting choices. If you can’t find people near you, follow blogs and read books by the same types of people.
I have heard many people say if they could just go on one of those dieting shows they could lose that weight. I’m sure if there were a Christian parenting show, viewers would have all sorts of excuses why it would only work for them if they too were on the show. I hear them all of the time from people who read this blog. (That’s nice you could do it, but I ____).
What those wishful dieters have not accepted is that they can mimic the show in their own lives. I can’t help you lose weight, but I do know you can create an environment which will greatly minimize your ability to make excuses why you are not putting your entire focus on Christian parenting. You just have to want it badly enough. In this case the results are a lot more eternal than how you look in that reunion dress, so I pray you will accept the challenge and become a “no excuses” parent.