Wednesday, November 3, 2004

You never know what your kid's memories are going to be. Our son was 20 years old, he was in college, and they asked him to write about a childhood memory. That's when they're in college in these family classes and you get to pay for them analyzing you. He picked the day that he and I played wiffle ball together for the first time. He couldn't have been more than four or five years old. You know, that's that little plastic ball, it's got enough holes in it to keep it from going far, and he had this little yellow plastic bat, and I was pitching to him from a few feet away in the backyard. The first time he ever tried to hit a ball, strike one - he chopped it instead of hitting it right and he missed it. It's hard to remember all the things that daddy just told you. Right? Then I threw it again, real gently - strike two. So I stopped and I went over and I reviewed with him, you know, keep your eye on the ball, don't chop, swing evenly, and then I said one more thing that I hadn't said the first two times. I said, "Hey, son, I really believe you can hit it this time!" Next time, bam! He hit it way over daddy's head and into the neighbor's yard.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Parent Power."

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 1 Thessalonians 2:7. "We were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her young children." Verses 11 and 12: "You know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory."

Paul talks here about spiritual parenting, but it's really very good for those of us who are involved in the whole gamut of parenting our physical children. It talks about a mom's gentle acceptance, the gentle love of a mother, like caring for her little children. A father tends to have expectation love. Dads want you to get the job done - to do well. It's kind of like tough love, and you got one who's a little more the lover and one a little more the tougher. It's good to put the two together.

Paul's fathering had great results. Most dads would start, of course, with urging. They like that word, "As a father, I urge you to live as you should." But it also says dads are to encourage and to comfort. Called along side to help, that's the comfort word. My experience with my son in the yard tells us a lot about how our kids are wired. You don't just push them and nag them and point out when they're wrong. "Hey, man you missed it!"

You tell them that you believe in them. That's actually what worked. Our kids need to know that. As a dad or a mom, we need to see the good points in our kids and praise them as often as we can for those good points. Express what we see in terms of their potential - what they could be. Not just their strong abilities, but their strong qualities like gentleness, and sensitivity, and leadership, a sense of humor, compassion. We tend to see what needs work instead of what they're really good at.

See, God fathers like that - with affirmation. He called Abram, Abraham - Father of Many Nations - before he was father of anything. He called Gideon "Mighty Soldier" before he was ever much of a soldier. He called Simon "The Rock," long before he was. Jesus says, "I see what you could be ... not what you are." We need to do that with our kids. Maybe they're swinging and they're missing, but we've got to tell them we believe they can hit. When we see weaknesses and failures, we've got to say, "Hey, man, I know you can do better than this. You're too good for this. I know who you are."

A parent has awesome power to build or to tear down, and my son taught me what Paul told us and what God has modeled - that there is incredible parent power in encouraging and comforting and telling your child, "I believe in you!"



Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)


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