Thursday, August 30, 2018
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You never know what your kid's memories are going to be. You know? Our son was like 20 years old, he was in college, and they asked him to write about a childhood memory. You know that's when they are in these family classes and you get to pay for them analyzing you and their family relationships. Great! Well he picked the day that he and I played wiffle ball together for the first time. He couldn't have been more than 4 or 5 years old. You know wiffle ball, it's that little plastic ball. It's got enough holes in it to keep it from going far, and he had this little plastic yellow 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, and strike 1 - he chopped it instead of hitting right and he missed it. I threw it again real gently - strike 2. 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, "I really believe you can do it." The next time, BAM! He hit that thing way over Daddy's head.
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 Chapter 2, beginning at verse 7, " We were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her young children." Verses 11 and 12 he says, "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." Now Paul's talking 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; you know the gentle love of a mother, like caring for her little children. Now a father, let's say, he tends to have I call it expectation love. Dads want you to get the job done, to do well.
You know 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. Now 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. That's called alongside to help is the word there in the Bible, a 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, nag them and point out when they're wrong, "Hey, man, you missed it." But you tell them that you believe in them. That's what worked. Kids need to know that.
See, as a dad or a mom, we need to see the good points in our kids. Praise them often for those good points. Express what we see, in terms of their potential, what they could be. Not just their strong abilities but like their strong qualities like gentleness, sensitivity, leadership, their sense of humor, their caring, their compassion. We tend to see what needs work instead of what they're really good at. They have a lot of people telling them what's wrong with them. You've got to be the one who holds up a mirror and says, "Look what God made when He made you, man."
God fathers like that. 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 sees what you could be, not what you are. We need to do that with our kids. Maybe they're swinging and missing, but we got to tell them we believe they can hit. When we see weaknesses and failures, we got to say, "Man, I know you could 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."