Do you know which truth about parenting used to trouble me most?
That even when parents do everything “right,” sometimes their kids still turn out “wrong.”
I’m sure you’ve seen it too: Great kids who come from troubled homes, or troubled kids who come from great homes.
My friend Bev once told me, “Parents get (and take) far too much credit when their kids turn out well, and far too much blame when they don’t.”
I really like that.
But on the other hand, does that mean it doesn’t matter what kind of parent I am? Shouldn’t I feel some sense of accountability for how I raise my kids?
I love the way Kirk Martin resolved this dilemma for me at one of the Celebrate Calm seminars I attended last year.
He explained that as parents we aren’t judged by our kids’ behavior, but by our own. Think about this: Is God, our Heavenly Father, judged by how His kids turn out? Of course not. He is a perfect Father. But just look at how messed up His kids are. Neither are we judged by how our kids turn out.
But as parents we will be judged the same way God is: By our character and behavior.
That is still a heavy weight to bear. The fact that I will stand before God one day and answer for how I parented keeps my heart and actions in check.
But it makes a lot more sense to me that I will be judged on what I could control (my choices between sacrifice vs. selfishness, discipline vs. laziness, etc.) versus what I could not control (my kids’ behavior.)
What do you think? Has anyone else wrestled with this tension? What answers have you found? Do you agree with Martin?