Friday, February 20, 2015


Parenting is the only job you will ever have where ALL the training is "on the job." Some technical schools call it "just in time training." I wish I could assure you that your parenting training will always be "just in time." However, there is a way to beat that problem. Look at the parents and teachers you have known whom you admired. Since parents are the first teachers a child has, I copied, without apology, the positive examples and learned from the negative examples.

I had a wonderful fourth grade teacher who saw "Chatty Cathies" as children with "strong verbal skills which should be channeled to their advantage." Research decades later supported her supposition that "strong verbal skills" contribute to becoming good readers. She saw stubborn children not as willlful but as persistent and said that made them be "persistent to task." Again, research decades later supporter her. Miss Annabelle would probably have seen children whom others call "stupid" as "having undeveloped potential." To this day (60 yrs later) I still appreciate this woman and, when I parented and when I taught, I tried to emulate her. 

Another great teacher I had was my Sunday School teacher, Mrs. Anita Garrison. She taught us that obeying our parents was training for obeying God. She taught us that obeying them was not a one at a time decision but a commitment. She explained that if we just made the decision that we would be obedient, we would have a much easier time obeying them than if we looked at everything they told us to do as a decision we had to make. I didn't understand that for a very long time. But, when I made the commitment to follow Jesus, I didn't have to make a decision for every choice (or temptation) I faced because I had already made that decision once and for all time. Once I made the decision to "do it as unto the Lord," that all made more sense.

When we got our first foster children, those discussions came back to me. That's when I realized what an awesome job parenting is. It's up to parents to deal with their children with the same consistency that God deals with us. That's how we train them to expect consistency from God and that helps them to know how to recognize temptation.

It's a lot like using a yardstick to measure inches and feet. The distance between each inch and the number of inches in each foot and the number of feet in each yard will always be the same. That's how it is with God's expectations of us. They are consistent and knowable and reliable.

Why are all these lessons so important?

Every interaction a parent has with a child is a lesson we are teaching. That means what we do as well as what we say is a lesson for them. When our actions don't match our words, that too is a lesson. It's a lesson in unfaithfulness. They may never process it in that manner but they will imitate it.

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