Lets start off with a tough question… what is the greatest mistake you made as a parent? If you’re not a parent yet what is the greatest mistake you fear making?
I am a father of three (10 year old boy, 8 year old girl, and 9month old). Ever since I can remember I looked forward to being a dad, a big reason is because I had a great dad. He was certainly an imperfect dad but he was not afraid to step out and fail in front of us. Without knowing, that is one of the greatest gifts my dad gave me outside of pointing me to a relationship with Jesus. In essence his making mistakes and me seeing how he handled them is something that has forever shaped me for the better.
While contemplating the answer to the question above I can say the greatest mistake I have made is my lack of intentionality with my kids. At times I have relied on making sure my kids were taken care of at home, in church, in a good school, active in sports, and participating in other activates to make them well rounded. That’s enough right? Not exactly. It is important for my wife and I to think about who our kids are and how we can maximize their God given potential. It is extremely easy to get caught up in thinking about the immediate satisfaction of our kids or our own parental relief when we should be focused on the end results. This will take temporary sacrifice on our part and vision for our kids’ future potential.
Recently I read an insightful and challenging book called “12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid” written by Tim Elmore who is the founder of Growing Leaders. Today I am going to share the 12 mistakes and over the next several blog posts that I send out I will cover each of them more in depth. Think about each of these and comment back what you feel like you struggled with or will have issues with the most. I would also love to hear about ways you have avoided these mistakes yourself. I am excited to get some conversation going…
1. We Won’t Let Them Fail.
When we remove the possibility of failure, we dilute kid’s motivation to excel.
2. We Project Our Lives on Them.
When we project, kids are pressured to become someone they are not.
3. We Prioritize Being Happy.
When happiness is the goal instead of a by-product, it is elusive and disappointing.
4. We are Inconsistent.
When we are inconsistent, we send mixed signals and breed insecurity and instability in kids.
5. We Remove the Consequences.
Wen we remove consequences for actions, we fail to prepare kids for the future.
6. We Lie About Their Potential and Don’t Explore Their True Potential.
When we distort, disillusionment results from dreams that don’t match kids gifts.
7. We Won’t Let them Struggle or Fight
When we eliminate the struggle, kids are conditioned to give up easily without trying.
8. We Give Them What They Should Earn
When we give them too much, they don’t learn the art of working and waiting
9. We Praise the Wrong Things
When we affirm kids’ looks or smarts instead of their virtues, their values become skewed
10. We Value Removing All Pain
When we take away pain, kids’ ability to endure hardship or loss atrophies
11. We Do It for Them
When we do things for kids, they can become lazy, unmotivated to grow, and disabled.
12. We Prepare the Path for the Child
When we prepare the path, kids childhoods work fine, but their adulthood looks bleak.
Also available on audiobook
More on this from the author on www.GrowingLeaders.com blog post.
About the Author:
Noah Wickham has an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts from Rogers State University (RSU), Bachelors in Applied Ministry with a Children’s Emphasis and Minor in Business from Oklahoma Baptists University (OBU), Masters in Christian Education with a Concentration in Counseling, and is completing his Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from OBU. His primary focus at RCYS is working with family systems and younger children. He also serves as Family and Children’s pastor at First Baptist Church in Claremore.