We have the pleasure of having dad and pastor, Tim Parsons, guest blog for us. He often blogs about leadership and today he is writing about how to avoid stunting our child’s ability to be who God created them to be. Thanks Tim!
Lori & Becky
Being a father is one of the most rewarding, but hardest things I’ve ever done. I have been the Campus President of a college, a pastor, and I’ve worked in several different industries with hundreds of different people.
But… all of these pale in comparison to being a father.
You are given this life, this person, with no expectations of life or what it will bring – and you are given the responsibility to help him form this and other perceptions in a healthy way. Most days I’m sure that I’m failing at this. I try, I make mistakes, I apologize, and then I learn and try to do better the next day.
I have 3 children (one girl and two boys) and one on the way.
I can say that the mistakes that I make and the moments that I fail as a father will not have a life-long impact on them. In fact, those missteps give me the platform to teach them about forgiveness and grace. They’re good lessons to learn from daddy and one that I get to teach far too often.
However, there is one way that, I believe, you can ruin your child for life. One failure that can have a negative impact throughout their lives that they will struggle to fully recover from. One thing, that if you (mothers and/or fathers) do it, it can warp their sense of who they are and what they’ve been created to be and become.
Project your own shortcomings, failures, and issues from your life onto them.
Here’s what I mean:
You weren’t good at baseball when you were a kid. In fact, you made mistakes often when you played and were verbally criticized by your dad when it happened. So, you are sure that your son will never be good at baseball either and you don’t let him try it or you hold him back or discourage him from trying out different sports.
You are an introvert and you shy away from interactions with others. So, you perceive that your daughter is too. Instead, you encourage her to stay home and not go to the birthday party or play-date because you don’t want things to be “awkward” for her. You are thereby stunting her social and relational growth because of your hangups and preferences.
You have a disability, so you’re sure that your twins will too and so you make choices for them based on that disability.
You placed too much importance on looks growing up, so you don’t allow your daughter to have any input on her clothes or appearance.
You are an outgoing person and when your child doesn’t appear to be making friends easily, you overreact and begin sending the child to therapy rather than considering the fact that he may just be different than you.
There are many more examples, but I’m sure you’re getting the idea.
Because we have the supreme level of influence with our children, the ways that we react to their personality and preferences will largely dictate whether or not they will be able to fully grow into the person that God designed them to be. And, if we place limitations or perceptions about who they are based on who we are, we could stunt their growth as a person and minimize the possibility of them fully realizing their purpose.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Psalm 139:13 (NIV)
Where have you seen this to be true in your life? In what ways do you project your experiences onto your child? Comment below and let me know! I’d love to hear from you!
In addition to being a dad, Tim Parsons is the Executive Pastor at First Assembly Community Ministries in Lafayette, IN and is also a gifted writer, teacher, speaker, and consultant. He is married to the love of his life, Consuela. The Parsons have 3 children ages 6, 4, 2, and one due in March 2015. Check out his blog: www.timandconsuela.com.