Someone once said that “you’ll never realize the importance of something until it’s gone.” This is true in so many areas of life, including parenting. When raising children, the days seem so long but the years seem so short. And as a result, parents often overlook tough questions during the parenting years that they later will wish they had prioritized.
They are tough topics, yes. And while it isn’t easy to think about them, it’s important to address them before it’s too late—especially by asking these 3 uncomfortable and tough questions.
1. Will any of my children rebel?What’s in your child’s heart will determine what’s in your child’s future.
While there is no way to tell what the future holds, parents have influence over the direction of their child’s heart. A parent’s greatest responsibility is not to be a rule-enforcer or a family referee. A parent’s greatest responsibility is to nurture and protect their child’s heart. Because what’s in your child’s heart will determine what’s in your child’s future. We’ve found in our own family that this is hard to track. There is so much being thrown at our kids from every direction that it requires our intentionality to protect their hearts and their futures.
2. Are my children actually learning how to be great spouses and parents?
Have your kids ever looked up at you and said, “I want to be a daddy just like you someday!” Mine have. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that our children one day will become adults—mothers and fathers, husbands and wives. And what they are learning now is what will shape them into the adults they will become. Remember, more than our children will become what we say, they will become who we are.
3. Do my children even know how to handle forgiveness, bitterness, and reconciling relationships?
Everyone gets hurt by others. And everyone hurts others. Learning to deal with it properly is key to living successfully. And one of the greatest ways to set your child up for relational success is seeing a good example. They need to see you forgive quickly, a willingness to reconcile, and letting go of bitterness. To live successfully, our children must learn how to deal properly with life’s hurts and they need our example and help to know how to navigate their own.
I heard this quote recently: “Our world 20 years from now will be what we have raised our children to be today.” How true. Our parenting has a multi-generational effect, and we need to examine the patterns are we setting for our grandkids. We need to figure out the traits to pass down to future generations, such as respect, generosity, and faith. Unfortunately, important factors like these can fall by the wayside and be lost forever in just one generation. As you think about these questions today, here’s a reminder from Frederick Douglass: “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
Sound off: Which of these three tough questions stands out the most that you could prioritize?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What kind of a parent do you want to be someday?”