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!

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