10 ways to parent our kids toward a hopeful future

Photo by Kim Harms

Sometimes I fail as a mom. Sometimes I triumph. Sometimes I cry with my boys. Sometimes I laugh with them. And sometimes I am at such a loss for what to do that I just fall on my knees in wordless prayers for these man-children who have been entrusted to my care. Maybe you can relate.

Below is a list of things that we can all do help point our kids toward faith, maturity and a hopeful future as they make their way from diapers to graduation gowns.

1. Don’t let them believe they are the center of the universe.

  • By all means, be their biggest cheerleader, but don’t drop everything every time they need something. If you don’t teach them that the world doesn’t revolve around them, the world will teach them when they leave home, and it will be a very hard lesson.

2. Open your Bible in front of them.

  • Don’t wait to do your scripture reading or Bible study after they’ve gone to bed. Let them see you study God’s word.

3. Talk kindly about others in front of your kids.

  • Sometimes we get frustrated with people. That’s just a part of life, and it’s okay for our kids to see that frustration. Let’s just focus on “venting” in a godly way. If our kids see us badmouthing others, they will probably decide it’s okay to do the same.

4. Let them see you serve.

  • There will be a time in your life when serving your little kids is all you can handle. That’s great. Serve them well. But when life gets easier, and sleep gets more regular, serve so they can see it. This doesn’t mean do everything you are asked to do, but do take the opportunity when you can.

5. Apologize.

  • When you screw up, humble yourself and ask for your child’s forgiveness. They relate to us better when they see we are human too

6. Live out your passions and gifts.

  • Don’t hide them away and wait for your kids to grow up. If they see you following your dreams, they might just believe that they can follow theirs too.

7. Listen to them when they want to talk about Fortnite.

  • When your kids are young, the things they want to talk to you about might seem trivial and boring. But listen and engage them because when they get older the things they need to talk to you about are anything but trivial. And if you lay the groundwork and show them that mom (or dad) listens, you will have a teenager who will be more likely to come to you for support.

8. Get them out of their comfort zone and closer to you.

  • This will look different from family to family. We forced our three boys into backpacking, which is not an easy kind of vacation. But with each trip we take we grow closer as a family. (Each trip also provides some pretty awesome stories. (Like remember that time Lewis fell in the river and we had to dry his underwear over the fire. . . )

9. Invite their friends into your home.

  • Someday your kids will be grown and your house will be quiet. But for now, welcome the noise and the messes and the extra groceries required. Having an open door at our house is something we committed to long ago, and one of my greatest joys is having a house filled with teenage boys. (Hint: If you feed them, they will come.)

10. Don’t compare.

  • God created each of our kids to be unique, and each will struggle with different things at different times and in different ways. Be the mom that each of your children needs. One size fits all doesn’t work with our kids.

We will all fail some days. None of us will ever be the perfect parent, even if that’s the persona we display on Instagram. My encouragement to you is to work to lead your children toward maturity, faith and a hopeful future, but give yourself grace for the days you just can’t quite get it right. (On those days, you might have to consider applying #5.)

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Rescue me from my enemies oh Lord, for I hide myself in you. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God, may your spirit lead me on level ground.

Psalm 143:8-10

Kim Harms

Kim Harms is a writer and speaker who is represented by Literary Agent Karen Neumair of Credo Communications. She is under contract with Familius Publishing for her first book, tentatively titled Life Reconstructed. Harms has a degree in English: Literary Studies from Iowa State University and was a regular contributor at the former Today's Christian Woman. She underwent a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction surgeries in 2016 after being diagnosed with breast cancer and writes about her Life Reconstructed at kimharms.net. Central Iowa is home, and she lives there with her husband Corey and their 3 ever-growing man-children.

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