There are no perfect parents. I am not one, you are not one, your parents certainly weren’t perfect. There is just no such thing as a perfect parent.
About 2 years ago my wife was on bed rest during pregnancy with our third daughter. During that time my level of responsibility at home increased tremendously. I quickly learned to appreciate the work that my wife does with our kids every day and the finesse with which she does it. She is a good mom, not perfect, but then again no one is.
It was late spring and we needed to buy our growing girls some summer clothes. Since Angela was confined to the couch, I ventured out with the girls in search of summer clothes. Armed with their sizes and a clear budget, I trudged forward onto a battlefield filled with hidden land minds. The girls wanted to go to super target. I thought this was a sensible choice so we went to target. After an hour of just looking, the girls literally had cart loads of clothes they wanted to try on. I was already frustrated. I mean hey, I go to the store, by a pair of jeans, and leave in under 15 minutes. This was taking way too long. The “trying on” process began and continued for another hour. I approved or disqualified each outfit one by one. When they had discovered what they liked, what fit, and what dad would also approve of, we compared what they had to the budget. They were forced to choose what clothes the would buy based on how much money I was willing to spend.
They debated like highly trained, well experienced, court room attorneys. If only dad would spend extra money they could get everything they wanted. I dug in joining the debate as a highly trained arguer myself. Before it was over one daughter was in tears and the other was yelling. I however, had won the debate. We got in line to pay. I looked down at my teary eyed daughter and she said words that I will never forget, “Dad, you are a terrible Mom.”
I wanted to say something but she was right. This shopping trip had been too much for my savvy parenting skills. I had stooped to the level of elementary school kids and joined a crazy argument like I was one of them. I had blown it this time around the block.
We are not going to get it right every time. You and I will never be perfect parents because we aren’t perfect people. So I really have two messages for two categories of parents.
1) For those of you trying tirelessly to be perfect in your parenting effort, let yourself off the hook. You will enjoy being a parent much more when you realize perfection is not a requirement in God’s eyes.
2) For those of you who have given up on parenting your kids God’s way because you think you can never do it well enough, get back in the game. Give God something to bless. You will be surprised what He can do with your intentional efforts as imperfect as they are.
May the Lord bless and lead us all as we seek to lead our kids. The next generation is dependent on our well intentioned, imperfect, efforts to lead our kids in a God honoring way.