Being a parent is hard. I’ll be honest, there are some days that I think that its impossible. Here’s some more honesty, I see my wife balancing five different things and the kids and I’m amazed. I can balance five or six different projects at work and it comes naturally to me. Throw one of my boys in the mix and everything comes crashing down. I think parenting is really just another way that God brings humility to his people.
To make matters even more intense, over the past three months my travel schedule has been insane. Here’s a quick snapshot:
- Lancaster, PA
- Orange County, CA
- Mt. Union, PA
- Kansas City, MO
- Dallas Fort Worth, TX
- Las Angelas, CA
- Enumclaw, WA
While I get to work with some amazing ministries, see awesome cities, and eat great food, the one thing that is always hard is being away from my family. It’s amazing how much my boys change in just two weeks.
With Liam Brittany and I had been very intentional in making sure we put him to bed with a Bible story and praying. When Liam was younger we would just pray for him and I always ended each prayer with…”In Jesus name…Amen”. When Liam started talking he surprised us one day when I said, “In Jesus name” and he finished by yelling..AMEN! We loved it! We get to live right next to our aunt and uncle and cousins, so dinner time prayer always ended in Liam finishing off after “In Jesus Name” with amen. A couple weeks ago we noticed that during prayer time Liam would put his hands together to get ready for prayer. We didn’t teach him to do this, so it took somewhat surprised us. I loved the fact that he took prayer time seriously. And then this week for the first time we told Liam it was prayer time and before I could begin he started going into the prayer on his own. He prayed for everyone and everything, even the water and salt shaker. Words really can’t do justice to the moment, so I thought I’d share a video clip of Liam Praying.
As I was thinking about how big my boy is getting, I realized a couple really important aspects of parenting that I hope will encourage you.
- Be intentional – We received some great advice early on from our pastor back in California. He encouraged us to be intentional about the things that were important to us. My earliest memories are of my mom having my brother and sister kneel down and spend time in prayer. At the time I hated it. It was boring. But my mom’s intentionality instilled a value in me that is being played out as I parent and raise my own son (Deuteronomy 4:9).
- Start as early as possible – As a youth pastor i’ve heard and been apart of a lot off discussions in regards to when is the “right age” to start focusing on Christianity with kids. My experience as a parent says its from day one. Pray over you child when they are in the womb. Pray with your child when they are born (Matthew 19:13). These values will be embedded in the memories of your children. As you show value to them, they will value them.
- Take risks and enjoy the moment – Don’t be afraid to ask your kids to pray. And when they do pray, celebrate the moment. Encourage them! Reinforce the power of prayer and your joy in your children as they grow in their walk with the Lord.
There’s no doubt that parenting is hard. In fact, as I finish this post Liam just spilled water all over the floor. But the joy of parenting, specifically, seeing your children grow in their love and affections for Jesus is so worth it.