I have a mental picture of my son, Adam, sitting in the front of the school bus after a high school varsity baseball game as they returned from an away game. I asked him why he was at the front with just one other player as a captain and senior. He told me, “the rest of the guys were in the back watching porn on their phones, and I didn’t want to be a part of that.”
I have a photo of my daughter, Chloe, at a volleyball banquet. Her dress is to the floor, while the other girls’ dresses aren’t leaving much to the imagination.
These 2 decisions were maybe 100% by Adam and Chloe. But they came after years of parental coaching, talking about God’s Word together, and keeping the purity and modesty bars high. To see them catch the Godliness in those moments still amazes me.
These two examples are not to show our parenting was perfect – because it wasn’t at all. But I share these examples to say that when Godly parents exert Godly leadership in their families, it often is caught and lived out. That’s our goal as Godly parents, right?
My wife and I just concluded a TV show that ended its run with a dad choosing his daughter over his career. That’s a good example of how parents will do anything for their kids. We all could cite many examples in our own lives and in the lives of our friends, that would substantiate this point. While those all-in parental decisions are made with good intentions and with heartfelt rationale, I have found that that mentality is often not good when it comes to being the Godly leader of your family that God wants and requires.
Here are 4 common mistakes that I’ve made at times and that I see parents make quite often that, unfortunately, DON’T lead to Godly Leadership of their family:
#1 – Trying to be Your Kid’s Best Friend. My children are 29, 27, and 25 now. Outside of my wife, they are my best friends. I love them and their spouses (and our grandkids!) dearly. But, in their growing up years, we were sure to put boundaries in place that exerted our roles as parents and set boundaries that would honor our family and honor God. It seems to be that too many parents want to be the cool mom and cool dad. They allow freedom and flexibility in an effort to prove, “I love you and trust you,” which is not healthy. I didn’t and don’t trust a teenager with raging hormones in a compromised situation. I love them but don’t trust the situation they’re in. I loved my 3-year-old son but didn’t trust him with markers and a white wall all by himself. We can show love and yet set up age-appropriate rules and guidelines that are honoring to them and teach them how to honor God with their choices and lives. Our children will thrive with that guidance in the long run and they will end up being your best friends!
#2 – Making Church a Low Priority. Certainly, if Christ-following parents were to take a quiz, attending church would be high on the priority list. But, the proof is in the pudding (Where did that phrase come from anyway? I’ve never searched banana pudding for proof of concept). We can say church is important, but when weekend activities take over our schedules and priorities, and the lake, the sports games and trips, and the need to sleep in become the actual priority, our kids notice. I hear from teenage parents all the time, “My kid won’t come to youth group.” Well, most of the time, it started with a lack of a true commitment as a family to church much earlier than that. I’m not a 52-weeks-out-of-the-year guy. I do believe there is nothing wrong with missing a weekend here or there. But, take inventory in 2023, and give your family a grade – or look back at 2022 and give your family a grade. Let’s go with the 90-80-70-60 traditional scale. That means 3 out of 4 Sundays is a 75% or a C. How much of a priority is it for your family? Godly parents know that to be Godly leaders of their families, they’re showing that church is a priority!
#3 – Not Talking Bible in Your Daily Lives. Deuteronomy 6:7 tells us the role Scripture should play in our families: “Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.” Godly parents know that as Godly leaders of their families, talking about the Bible should be a daily occurrence. This doesn’t mean you must have family devotions every day. Those aren’t bad, we had them weekly forever, but what Deuteronomy is talking about is that God’s Word speaks to all of life. When a tough decision comes up, Godly leaders point to Scripture. They teach those they lead to ask the question, “What does God say about this topic?” Parents, this is assuming that we’re in the Word ourselves and can speak to it. But, even if you’re not a Bible expert, which most of us aren’t, start today with where you are. Look up what God’s Word says on modesty or finances or relationships or truth telling or whatever other topics come up today around your home.
#4 – Lowering the Bar. The power of peer pressure is huge, isn’t it? None of us want our kids bullied, pushed around, or made fun of. It’s a horrible feeling as a parent. Because of that, we think we’re doing the right thing by compromising our beliefs and convictions and what we think is right so that the bad side of peer pressure doesn’t affect our children. The problem is that what’s pleasing and acceptable in peer pressure is often not to the Lord. They’re going to go ahead and miss church regularly to be on this incredible sports team because that’s better for them in this season so that they can get ahead, be with their friends, etc. Wrong. We’ll allow them to wear those clothes that are not modest whatsoever because that’s the style these days. Wrong. We’ll allow our kids to watch TV shows and movies that are completely against God’s standards because it’s the popular show everyone is talking about. Wrong. Parents, be Godly leaders. Godliness often goes against worldliness. Godliness is contrarian.
We could talk a lot more on this topic, but we’ll leave it there for now. What are your thoughts or questions? Leave them in the comments. If you found this blog helpful or thought-provoking, please Subscribe Below to receive a new weekly blog in your email on Tuesday morning. Also, if you think this blog would be helpful for others, please share it on social media or tell a few friends about it!
Love being on this Essential Godly Leadership journey with you!
Essential Godly Leadership: “Leading your life, your family, your work, your relationships, and your world in a way that is seeking wisdom from, and pleasing to, the Lord Jesus.”