helping my kids when i myself am a screw up

Raising Sexually Healthy Kids, Part 3

You feel pretty perfect as a parent, right? Every day as I see my children sin, I just realize how unlike me they are. Pouting? I never pout. Anger? No worries there. Impatient? Not me. Selfish? Never.

If only.

My biggest issue as a parent is seeing my own sin in my kids. They get angry and stamp their feet, pointing fingers emphatically. They threaten each other if they aren't getting their way. Wonder where they learned that. When I hear them full-name their Daddy, that's when I know I have no excuse.

My kids are learning to sin by watching me.

Now, before you go all theological on me, I know they are born sinners. But the style and flair of their particular sins show my fingerprints.  It's like looking in a mirror as they say. The reflection is shorter and younger, but boy does it rock my attitude.

So the next question I want to address is: How can I help my kids when I am a screw up?  The topic of the seminar I'm blogging about was Raising Sexually Healthy Kids, so while the focus was on that area, this applies to all areas of our life that are full of sin. So... everywhere.

One of my favorite parenting books is Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp. He points out that keeping your kids alive is the primary goal of parenting until like age 3, and after that, your goal is to help your kids see Jesus. This is important because parenting apart from Jesus is very behavior-oriented. But like I referenced last time, we know it's all about the roots not the fruit. 

I'm a miserable sinner. Are my kids even safe to learn from me?  Not really, no. But as their parent, I need to keep in perspective that they are not really "with me." Walk this analogy with me...  Matthew 8:23-27:

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

What kept the disciples safe? The boat, right? No. Ok, then when Jesus calmed the storm? Still no. The disciples were safe the whole time. Even if there had been no boat, or the boat disappeared, or the storm suddenly raged a thousand times harder -- the disciples were safe with Jesus.

As a parent, I am the boat. I am one tool Jesus uses to keep my kids safe. I worry that I am not giving my kids the best. But here's the truth: I'm not. I'm a sinner. I will never love them perfectly, discipline them truly selflessly, or make plans that are 100% for their best future. Only Jesus can do that. My kids are safest and in the position for their best possible future when they are with Jesus. Storm, rage on! Do your worst!  Safe with Jesus is safe in the boat, safe out of the boat, safe in the storm, or safe on calm seas. He is safety.

My encouragement to you today is that while you are helpless to bring freedom to your child from a besetting sin or helpless to change a behavior or helpless to save them from the evils of their environment... you can send them to the one who is all-powerful. 2 Corinthians 12:9 is my parenting verse:

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.


Conference was hosted by Westminster Presbyterian and presented by The Student Outreach on Saturday, January 21, 2016.