November 24, 2017, 1:35 pm
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Successful Parenting

The evidence of “successful parenting”? Look at their children. 

They are the evidence of successful parenting -- their values and character, their work ethic, their attitude towards money and fame, their kindness and compassion, their response to affluence and affliction, their contribution to the world around them, their authenticity, their integrity, their faithfulness to God. 

Humility, compassion and honesty are best taught by being caught. Parents have to be authentic role models to their children. Parents have to be consistent -- at home and in public. 

Experience is not the best teacher. Obedience is. 

Obedience to the rules that parents establish to protect, provide for, and bless their children. Just as God’s commands are always meant to protect, provide for, and bless us! 

Children get confused when they see their parents behaving badly at home -- screaming, insulting and cursing each other, or the house help, or their grandmas and grandpas -- yet present such a kind, gracious, “godly” demeanor in public. 

I’ve seen people who are such experts at putting on a gracious, flawless front. 

They know all the right words to say. They can put on all the right facial expressions. Yet, inside, their private lives are festering with negativity, envy, pride, malice, selfishness, lies, greed; mocking, laughing at, and betraying their very own friends in the privacy of their homes, where they think no one will ever know. 

Our masks fall when we’re at home. And who sees us when our masks fall? Our spouses. Our children. Our house help. The people who live with us. 

You want to know what a person is really like? Ask their secretaries. Ask their maids. Ask their drivers. Ask their husbands/wives. Ask their children. Ask their aging parents who have no choice but to live with them.

The dissonance that our children see in our private and public lives will warp our children’s values. They, too, will most probably grow up to be hypocrites and fakers, if their parents are hypocrites and fakers. 

Let me say it again: Parents have to be authentic. They must behave consistently -- at home and in public. 

Children who grow up seeing their parents treat each other and other people well -- consistently well  -- will most probably grow up to be secure, stable, kind and loving adults who will be authentic and real, just like their parents.

Here’s another important thing -- 

The way a parent responds to his child’s failure is a major life lesson for both the child and the parent. Winning is good, but never use it to elevate yourself as a parent. (This is why we have horrible monsters called Stage Moms.)

Failure can even be better than winning when a parent uses it to show his child that failure should never diminish one’s self-worth. Nor should winning define it. 

At the end of the day, a parent should teach his child that winning or losing, success or failure, are merely God’s methods for teaching us about humility, excellence, hard work, and complete dependence on Him. 

A win isn’t really a win until all the credit is given to God. Putting “All glory to God” at the end of our humble brag might fool some people. But it will never fool God. He sees right through us. 

So be careful about how you advertise your wins, and your child’s wins. It doesn’t hurt to ask oneself: Do I also talk about my failures? My losses? Does my child see that I can advertise my mistakes, too? 

Recently, a colleague said this to me, “I like it that you can talk about the good and bad things in your life. That you’re open about your success and failures.” It felt so good to hear that. It’s one of the things I’m constantly working on in my life: being real. 

Your children should see that you’re real -- both in private and in public. And that they’re not your trophies. 

Logically, one cannot really say one is a “successful parent” until one has raised children who are old enough to have made their own life choices, and old enough to have thrived and matured, in the midst of their own triumphs and failures. 

Successful parenting has to be seen from its long-term evidences. 

So never speak too soon. Well-behaved children and teeners do not necessarily grow up to be “successful adults.”

Only time -- and God -- can tell.
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