Humility in Parenting

4:52 PM

As Kyle and I drove home from church today, we had on the forefront of our minds a fabulous sermon which we had just heard preached by Fareed Tulbah, the youngest and newest pastor of our church. He had related a story which triggered a conversation between Kyle and me about something we're learning as we go: parenting.

The story Fareed mentioned involved a parent saying he was sorry, that he wished he'd done things differently when Fareed was younger. Fareed said that he responded to his dad by saying, Dad, I know you did the best you could, and I forgive you. Those words, "I'm sorry", especially coming from a parent, require such humility.

Kyle and I started thinking about what an integral part of parenting humility is. For starters, any parent who pretends he has everything all together is more than just pretending. He's lying to himself, and worse, his kids. And kids are not stupid. They are the first to detect liars.

I am convinced, based on my observations of parents over the years (including my own), that parenting is a process of growth, change and humility. You learn as you go, making mistakes and hopefully, getting some things right. I was fortunate to have two parents who, I believe, parented with humility.

They made it clear to us from day one that they were being raised up along with us kids, and that they did not have all the answers. They could be wrong. They admitted it when they were wrong. Now, they were very firm on many things, and backed up many of these with the Scriptures, but I can remember many conversations with my dad where he would remind me, "Ashley, we're gonna make mistakes. We're learning as we go. God is teaching us things one day at a time, and you need to be patient with us." For some reason, just knowing that my mom and dad weren't pretending to us kids to be the end of all answers and rightness, I respected them more. I saw them struggle to make wise decisions in regards to their children. I saw them struggle to resolve issues with each other - saw them praying together for wisdom and guidance, knelt with them to include us in those prayers. And while, at the time, I just absorbed it, I process it now, as a new parent, as actions guided by humility.

They had been given responsibilities by the Lord to raise their 7 children and that responsibility did not come with clearcut rules. The Bible for guidance, open lines of communication through prayer, godly older couples to whom they turned for advice, fellow couples walking the same rough path...doing the best they could.

It strikes me as so critical to remain humble in this journey of parenting. To not pretend to have all the answers. For one thing, every child is different and requires a different touch. For another thing, God is constantly teaching us new things and if we're not humble, we'll not be open to learning new lessons and passing those on to our children. I'm not saying don't be the parent. Do be the parent. But don't be afraid to tell your children you were wrong. And be able to say you were sorry. If our children learn by our behavior, then shouldn't they see us willing to humble ourselves and admit when we were wrong? It isn't a sign of weakness to admit you were wrong. If you fail to do so, and your kids KNOW you were wrong, you only succeed in building a wall between you and your children. They recognize hypocrisy and begin filing those things away in their mind as ok to do when a parent. This is not God's plan for us.

I fully set forth that I am learning as I go and am nothing but humble in regards to what I know and what I don't know. But I pray that I will parent with humility. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up. Humility and fear of the Lord lead to riches, honor and life. So, as I understand it, successful parenting is impossible without a humble heart. Just a thought.

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