As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
For anyone who has a child the thought of perfect parenting elicits a range of emotions, from hope to discouragement to outright terror.
We all hope we’ll be good parents, but most of us expect to fail in some ways. And every parent I’ve ever spoken with lives in fear of being such a bad parent they mess up their child permanently.
I’m writing this as I look back over my parenting journey. We have three grown sons, so the intense time of parenting is past. Sure we still give advice—when asked—but for the most part we’re finished.
Looking back was scary at first. I was afraid of the regrets and remorse I’d feel, from all the shoulda, woulda, coulda scenarios. But the process of evaluation wasn’t nearly as terror-inducing as I expected and I’d like to share some of the insights I gained.
The most important was that I looked back from the vantage point of standing beside God. By that I mean I prayed first and asked Him to share His perspective on my journey as a parent. He showed me several things I hadn’t noticed.
He reminded me that He wasn’t like the animated stork that I’d seen in the Bugs Bunny cartoons I watched on Saturday mornings growing up.
He NEVER delivered the wrong baby to the wrong parents.
He chose Kirk and I as parents for our boys before the beginning of time. And He did it knowing the mistakes we’d make, as well as the parts we’d get right. He used us, good and bad, to help shape our kids as they grew. I’d never considered that perspective before—that God chose us as much for our weaknesses as parents as for our strengths. I’d never thought of this verse in the context of parenting before.
Does that absolve us of guilt where we’ve been wrong? Absolutely not. But it gives me a hint that perhaps God is true to His word and can bring good out of bad.
The other thing He shared with me was the fact that perfect parents don’t guarantee perfect kids. I could have done every single thing right as a mother and because of free will, any of my sons could have chosen the wrong path.
How do I know this is true? Because God is perfect and look how we turned out. He did everything right, but we still chose to go our own way.