Summary: The reality is there is no perfect family. There is no perfect parent, parenting style, or parenting trick. “... God is more interested in using broken people than He is creating a better picture.”
Love the Lord your God
Family Camp 2010
Intro: Perfect parents
Parenting Beyond your Capacity
Book by Reggie Joiner & Carey Nieuwhof
“God isn’t holding up a perfect picture; He’s writing a bigger story.”
Images of what the ideal family is
Flood of parenting books, internet, family and friends, the church
The reality is there is no perfect family
There is no perfect parent, parenting style, parenting trick
Even appearances from the outside are misleading
Outside = ideal family vs. Inside = stress/depression/fighting/confusion
Drugs/drink/ children with social or learning difficulties = parents not copying with challenge of difficult behaviour
Leads to fatigue and emotional and physical burnout
Could be tension in work place/unsatisfied work
Marriage gone flat
Boredom of the routine
All sorts of things can shatter the family life
Face these facts: Parenting Beyond your Capacity
1. Family is messy
2. Parenting is hard
3. There is no single model
What about the Bible—doesn’t it call for perfect families?
ADAM & EVE: single-handedly caused the downfall of the human race, were evicted from their comfortable home and lifestyle. They had two sons; both were hardworking – one however was a freeloader and was jealous of the other brother and murdered him
NOAH: had a drinking problem
ABRAHAM: offered his wife to another man
REBEKAH: schemed with her son to deceive her husband, Isaac
JACOB: his sons sold their brother into slavery
DAVID: had an affair, and his son started a rebellion
ELI: Lost control of how his sons acted in church
Even Mary and Joseph who raised Jesus left him at church for three days
“... God is more interested in using broken people than He is creating a better picture.”
If God can people like Noah, Abraham, Rebekah & Jacob there is hope for you.
So how do you parent beyond your capacity?
1. Imagine the End: Focus your priorities on what matters most
ILLUSTRATION: Sweet 16 show on TV
Lavish and expensive birthday parties for wealthy and privileged kids turning 16
Shocking the extent people go to buy their child’s affection
ILLUSTRATION: In America it is common to buy a car for 16th B’day
One man I know – divorced from his son’s mother and remarried couldn’t understand why his son was so angry at him. He bought him a $50,000 BMW SUV. He didn’t want that – he wanted a pick-up truck. Father encouraged his son to trade the SUV in for the truck he wanted. Son was still unhappy.
Most of us give our children a lavish inheritance or expensive gift but we can leave them with a personal legacy.
Parenting Beyond your Capacity
“Too often, parents believe the end goal is to make their kids happy ... When we define a child’s happiness as our ultimate goal, we settle for something far less significant than what God has designed them for.”
Moses – uttered a profound statement that captures a vision for living life well. He said, [Deuteronomy 6:4] “The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”
Everything is about GOD!
Moses is saying, “It doesn’t really matter what our kids know [or have] if they don’t know what really matters.”
Imagine: your children enjoying the benefits of a prosperous lifestyle or a better life than what you had ... but never really know God.”
This is a warning from Moses to not lose focus and shift priorities. “Imagining the end is about focusing my priorities on what matters most.”
We want to live in good neighbourhoods, provide a good education, have the right friends and instil the right values. But we can’t unless we make God our ultimate priority. We have to learn that when it comes to parenting there are always things beyond our capacity.
The ultimate reality is that you cannot compete with God
I cannot offer a guarantee that your kids will turn out fine – the way you want them too. But you help them on the way if you let them discover for themselves that they can have a relationship with God.
Read them stores from the bible
Model it in the way you live your life – treat your spouse/children
Encourage them to worship with you and attend Sunday School
Let them ask questions about things they don’t understand
If they ask a question – show them the dignity they deserve by giving them an answer
Learn to fill their love tank!