A godly parent is a teacher, model and an unconditional friend. These responsibilities are like a three-legged stool. If one “leg” is missing, our effectiveness becomes minimal at best. Each “leg” is supported and held together by the Lord.
Our role as a teacher means that we must impart knowledge in a way that each of our children can understand – at every stage of his/her life. While others may be primary teachers in academic disciplines, only the parent can teach the bedrock “subjects” of spiritual values and character.
One has well said, “You cannot impart what you do not possess.” Therefore, as godly parents we must be in the process of spiritual development.
Our role as a model demands that our life must not be full of contradictions. Our words must not contradict our actions. The way we act in public must not contradict the way we act at home. Inconsistency destroys the message.
However, perfection is not a possibility either. We must be willing to say, “I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?” In God’s grace, even our failures provide an opportunity for modeling.
Every important relationship (God, Husband-Wife, and Parent-Child) is modeled (and learned) at home. We live our lives following the good or bad models; or working hard to break out of the negative “model mold.” Remember, if Christianity does not “work” in the home, it does not “work.”
An Unconditional Friend
The world is a competitive and conditional place. Most of what we do is based on performance. The home must be a place where you are accepted and loved unconditionally. And the parent must be an unconditional friend (not a buddy, but a true friend).
A true friend is able to separate the person from the performance (“I love and accept you for who you are, not because of what you do”). A true friend is able to “push” without pushing away (“I know you can do better. Let me help you.” – instead of – “Get with it, or else”). A true friend is able to motivate without manipulation (“We loved to watch your older brother play football” – interpreted – “You better do what he did if you really want to please us.”) A true friend is able to encourage without destroying (“God has given you unique gifts. Let me help you develop them” – instead of – “You will never amount to anything.”) A true friend is able to encourage unique gifts regardless of personal preferences (“I love watching you develop in your musical gifts” even when you have always had a passion for sports.)
A friend loves at all times…