When we were pregnant with our firstborn, we were still children’s pastors in Birmingham. We had lots of families around us–and we knew how their kids acted in public. So, we would find those parents with good kids and say, “How’d you do it? Why are your kids so good?”
One mom and dad said, “We spanked them. A lot.” (True story.) They may have been telling us that a little tongue in cheek. But their point was: discipline well and discipline often.
We talked to one of our pastors about his kids because they were so confident around adults. He said they taught their kids how to answer the phone (“Hello. Smith residence, this is Maggie speaking.”) They taught their kids how to shake hand and introduce themselves. They did not allow for shyness. They demanded confidence–and the kids’ delivered.
We talked to parents about homeschooling and private school. We talked about natural childbirth and breastfeeding. We wanted to know what we should do and how we should do it! And we knew these parents could help us because their children were respectful, confident, God-loving, fun-loving kids.
It’s important that we have family members that can help us with parenting. It’s important to read books and listen to parenting classes. But there is nothing like sitting face to face with someone and saying, “What in the world should I do about this?!”
My daughter has always struggled with fear. Especially fear of loud noises. One day at church, we were talking to an older-than-us couple who have kids in college. We were telling them about Lydia’s loud-noise-phobia and they said, “Oh, we had the same thing with our daughter when she was little.” They told us the whole story, about how they handled it then and how she handles it now.
I cannot tell you what a relief it was to hear them say they had lived through the same problem we had! And that their daughter was a functioning member of society! Talking to them about that one small issue, was a huge weight off our shoulders.
I suggest you look around your church, your kids’ school and even your neighborhood for a godly couple, preferably with kids a little older than yours. Get to know them. Tell them you admire their children and their parenting skills. Ask them specific questions about what they do, their parenting strengths and failures. I bet they’ll be eager to talk to you! And it will be a gift to you and your spouse as you navigate new seasons of parenting with your kids.
It’s better to have a partner than go it alone.
Share the work, share the wealth.
And if one falls down, the other helps,
But if there’s no one to help, tough!
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, The Message
Do you have a parenting role model?