Please note the humour and sarcasm in my title :).
Yesterday I read an article written by a young girl who is struggling with certain aspects of her upbringing. (You can read it here, and there's also a follow up response to the article here). Reading these articles made me think of my own childhood. One thing I am very thankful for is that I have Christian parents. Not only are my parents Christians, but they raised me, my brother, and my sister to know and love the Lord. But despite the fact that my parent's gave us an excellent upbringing, we've still made mistakes. We still faced struggles. We didn't turn out perfect. Does any child ever turn out perfect?
Sometimes my family jokes that I'm the "perfect child." Believe me this is very tongue-in-cheek, because I am in no way perfect. I was more like the quiet child, but I had (have) my struggles and faults too! I've often wondered how two (or more) children brought up in the exact same home can turn out so differently. My brother, sister, and I all turned out completely different. Today my sister and I are in church, and trying to live by the Christian principles and values our parents taught us. My brother is away from the Lord right now.
My Mom and I have often talked about how she and my Dad brought us up. Is it their fault my brother is away from the Lord? Did they do something wrong that caused my sister to fall into sin? Was it because of them I was self-righteous and prideful? Who do we blame? What could have been done differently? My parents are not perfect, and they probably could have done a better job of raising us. We could have done a better job at being obedient children! However, I am BEYOND thankful for the things they taught me. I think they were great parent's :). I really think parent's need to stop beating themselves up when their children go bad. Instead of dwelling on the past and the mistakes, they need to get it right now! If you know you did things wrong as a parent or could have done better, it's not too late to start. You're children will always be your children no matter what. The LEAST you can do is pray for them on a regular and consistent basis. I know it's the prayers of my parent's that have kept me on the right track many times.
I would like to list a few things that my parent's did during my childhood that I greatly appreciated, and that I believe helped me to become an adult with a desire to serve God.
1. They taught us to pray.
~ We didn't necessarily have a "family devotion" time when I was a kid, but almost every night before bed, either my Mom or my Dad would pray with us, and would let each of us pray too.
2. We read the Bible together.
~ In the morning before school, my Mom would have us read a passage in the Bible together, each of us taking turns reading a few verses.
3. We memorized Scripture.
~ I groaned about this one a bit, but it was good for me :)
4. My Mom home schooled us.
~ I understand families have different convictions about school, and some are unable to homeschool, but for my family, this was probably one of the best decisions my parent's ever made!
5. They had rules. Some of them were strange :).
~ Like no TV shows with magic in them... NONE!
6. They disciplined us.
7. They took us to church.
~ We went to church all the time. As children we knew it was important. Even when things were getting "bad" at our old church, our parent's still took us because when you're a Christian you go to church!
8. They never gave up when it was hard.
~ No matter what trial came, they just kept on trying to live for God the best they could.
9. They explained that sin has consequences.
~ I was pretty sheltered as a child, but I was never sheltered from the consequences of sin.
10. They gave us the reasons why for rules.
~ My parent's didn't demand blind obedience.
11. They talked to us, and explained things to us.
~ Some topics are difficult and awkward, but I always knew I could ask my Mom a question if I needed to.
Now that I'm an adult my relationship with my parents has definitely changed. They no longer make rules about my bedtime or tell me what TV shows I can and can't watch. However, they do give me advice, and I know I can always go to them with any question or problem I have. As a child your parents are pretty much your rulers. They lead, guide, direct, control, and discipline you. They also love, cherish, and care for you. My parents still take care of me :). They still look out for me. They're still my parents. But now that I'm all grown up they're even more than my parents. They are my best friends in the whole world!!!!!
Love you Mom and Dad!