Rodney Wilson is a regular guest post writer on Selma on Leadership. Rodney has been a marriage and family pastor/counselor for almost 20 years. Rodney and Selma have been married for 40 years and they have spoken and written on marriage and family issues for most of their married life.
Blog Post by Rodney A. Wilson
33 years. Really? Can a dad actually enjoy this parenting perspective as you reflect upon the mistakes he’s made? Absolutely! Here are some lessons I have learned at this unique stage of imperfection and thankfulness.5 Lessons I Have Learned in my 33 Years as a Dad by Rodney Wilson: Click To Tweet
5 Lessons I Have Learned in My 33 Years As a Dad
- Embracing the change your kids’ lives helps them transition better from stage to stage. Change is releasing some things and embracing others. It can be a wonderful thing when properly managed. Do I miss that little girls who I use to look at eye-to-eye as I was holding her feet with my hand? Sometimes, but the talks, the insights, the lessons I have learned from them as they grew from stage to stage – I wouldn’t trade for anything. (Besides, I now have a 2-year old granddaughter to bounce!)
Celebrating the changes in our kids actually gives them confidence as they move through childhood. Your encouraging attitude tells them you believe they are capable of handling this change. Transition is already unnerving enough for most kids. You can counter that intimidation by being their cheerleader through all the changes they are experiencing.
- Admitting when you’re wrong builds credibility with your kids. There were times when I came down too hard on our girls and the Lord (and sometimes their mother!) made it clear to me. So, beginning when they were really young, I chose to take a risk and ask for their forgiveness. Of course they quickly forgave their wayward dad. By apologizing I was making an emphatic statement to them: “I want you to know that I know I am not perfect.” Such a confession kills the pretense of the perfect dad syndrome between a dad and his kids. Learn this lesson, dads, at whatever age your kids are in.
- There is a time for this and a time for that. Borrowing vaguely from Ecclesiastes, there is a time to raise them and a time to launch them.
The time (or season) of raising your children means a time to direct them. Proverbs 22:6 says to “Train up a child in the way he should go.” Why? Because they are young and do not know the way they should go. Sometimes it involves discipline, to be the “bad guy” and not their peer. However, don’t burn bridges in the process. Remember, discipline is for training and teaching purposes. Punishment is exclusively for pain and humiliation. Choose to discipline. Our role as dads is to teach and train.
The lesson for me here was that the job of raising of my children is a temporary one. How sad it would be for me to try to control my adult children at this point? Essentially I would be screaming at them “I do not have confidence in your ability to make adult decisions, or for you to determine God’s will for your lives, so I will direct you in all you are to do.” Sad indeed, yet I counsel many young adults still trying to break those ties. If your children are now young adults, let them go. Learn the lesson. Launch them. There is a time for this and a time for that. It will actually take the pressure off of you. Your child-rearing duties are done and like all the rest of us – it wasn’t perfect. Launch them anyway and learn your new role in relating to them.
- Relating to them as adult-to-adult is a really cool thing. On the other side of the rearing responsibility is a wonderful time! I am learning to see myself as my children’s consultant should they choose to consult me. You continue to love your kids but now you see them quite differently. They are adults making their own mistakes, uh, decisions! You can share with them what you’ve learned along the way. They may heed your advice or they may do it another way. (Just like you and I did as we were figuring out adulthood.) Either way, enjoy this new phase as you watch your kids spread those wings.
- Walking with Christ carries more influence than you might think. A dad’s close walk with Christ cannot be concealed. Your kid will notice somehow. Let them see you reading your Bible, praying and getting connected in your church. Share with them what God is telling you in your quiet times and ask them the same. Lead your family in sharing prayer concerns and answers together.
Serving as spiritual leader does not mean you know all things. It means you are running after God with a passion. Your kids will notice. Your lifestyle will probably be the loudest sermon you will ever preach to them. It is scary the observations my girls have made about my spiritual life when I didn’t know they were watching.Serving as spiritual leader does not mean you know all things. It means you are running after God. Click To Tweet
Life is full of lessons. May our Lord grant you insight to learn your own lessons as you parent your children.