Awesome Isn't Perfect
May 12, 2020
We have just celebrated Mother’s Day. I hope you loved on your mom good if you still have one, because one of the things we know about mothers is this: Most of them feel terribly inadequate for the job. But moms and dads don’t have to be perfect to be awesome. They don’t have to be flawless to be fantastic.
In fact, I’m going to say that most families are doing better than they think. If you are intentionally trying and loving, your family is getting some important needs met. But we can always be better, and I think you want to be. I do too. So I want to encourage you to think about another area to include in your family plan.
Awesome families are families that encourage growth. On purpose, they work to create an environment of lifelong learning. Dad and Mom are continually growing. They know that they don’t have it all together, so they admit their failings and lacks, and they are always looking to take it up a notch. They develop their own spiritual gifts and encourage their children to discover their gifts and abilities and use them for God and people.
Focusing on making your home a growing and learning place will help you be an awesome parent in at least two arenas that come to mind. First, you will keep home from being a boring place. When your home is boring, the kids will love you, but they will have a big urge to go other places instead of inviting friends to their house. Second, there are some things kids never learn unless they’re taught them at home. You won’t learn them at school or work. You’ll just have a harder time with those things if you didn’t learn them at home. Take a little memory trip through your life. If you will be honest, you will see that most of your problems as an adult come from the fact that some of life’s most important skills, you didn’t learn at home, so you lack the ability to handle some inevitable situations well.
Here are six skills you need to learn at home. This is the curriculum you can catch up on and then teach your children.
1. How to manage your feelings. Some people grow up letting their feeling get out of hand, and they drive people away who want to love them, and fail at jobs where they could have the ability to excel. In a healthy family, you learn to identify, recognize, express, and deal with your feelings, and allow others to do the same. Awesome families are respectfully honest about their feelings, own up to their emotions, and learn to express them without damaging others.
2. How to handle loss. Winning is a high value in our culture, but no one wins all the time. Michael Jordan made a famous commercial about how many more shots he had missed than he had made. Kids need to learn how to handle losses and defeat with grace and resilience. In the real world there will be many more losses than sports and pets and contests. They need to learn that loss doesn’t have to destroy them, that even the most painful loss doesn’t need to be the end of life.
3. How to handle conflict. We don’t need to be very old to discover that life is filled with regular conflict. If we don’t know how to handle it in a healthy, timely way, we end up letting things get out of control in one way or another. We grow up stuffing our anger and it destroys us internally, or we have no controls on it at all, and we explode all over ourselves and others. Handling conflict well grows us individually and actually bonds us in healthy relationships with others. Kids need to see their parents handling conflict well, working out differences, and coming to cooperative resolution.
4. What values matter most. There are three basic areas of temptation in life. We could summarize them as money, sex, and status. These are the things the world values, but pursuing them usually leave us very empty. These things have to do with how you feel, what you do, and what you get in life. If your children don’t learn by your example, explained with words, they will spend much of their lives chasing things that can never satisfy.
5. Good habits. Habits determine our character. Our character determines our lifestyle. Our lifestyle determines our destination and satisfaction. Families should help each other grow so that everyone’s character becomes more Christlike.
6. Developing responsibility for their own daily communication with Jesus. Learning to pray as conversation, reading the Word of God for wisdom and support, getting together with other Christians for fellowship and worship—these they learn by participating and talking naturally with you. Podcasts, books… so many great resources are available and can be accessed by them in areas they need most. They will learn to be open to the outside help that they need in their life as they witness you do it.
You can have an awesome home. You don’t have to be perfect, but you sure can be awesome!