Blog >
The Challenge of Parenting
December 11, 2018, 12:00 PM

I’m not certain that I qualify to be a parent. My wife and I only have one child. Those with only one child have two advantages over those parents with two or more children.

1) When something is misplaced or a mess is made they always know who did it

2) Time spent with one child is much easier to make than when multiple children are part of the family.

I didn’t know how to be a father or husband. Most men don’t however some men start families with at least an idea of how to be a good husband and father based upon the example their father sets. My father was an abuser of women physically, verbally, and emotionally. He encouraged me to run away from my mother and then turned me over to the California foster care system. He had no time, patience, or kind words for me. But then Jesus turned my life around when I was 22 and placed me among a church full of men that were examples of how a godly man should treat his wife and children. It has been my earnest desire to honor their example and to please the Lord Jesus Christ.

My wife has been a godly example from her youth and is the finest Christian lady that I know. She has labored beside me in the kingdom of God and in life. As a mother, she is caring, thoughtful, and hard working. Thankfully she has imparted much of her traits to our daughter also.

The years have passed and my daughter continues to live joyously for the Lord Jesus. I better understand the words of the apostle John when he said, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 1:4). There is no guarantee that our children will live for God. I have seen children that have had safe, godly, and fun family environments choose the ways of a sinful world when they reach adulthood. I have also seen children raised in some of the worst of life’s environments but they made up their minds to live for Jesus at young ages and have done so. Serving God happily and faithfully is a matter of a willing heart! Yet, it is true that the way a child is raised often has the greatest influence upon their spiritual, social, emotional, and physical development.

At some point it dawned on me that our daughter would one day look for a young man (God forbid that he look at her!!!!) to marry. I began to pray that God would help me to model (a small replica of the real thing) for her what to look for in a young man. I wanted her to have a love for God, so the basics of Bible reading, prayer, fasting, tithing, church attendance, and a continuous sense of the presence of God was purposefully established in our family by my wife and I.

Somewhere in my early studies about fatherhood and then, as a minister responsible for the spiritual development of other children, young people, and adults; I came across research that linked both the emotional happiness and depression of the majority of women with the type of relationship they had with their father before becoming teen agers. Waiting until children are teen agers to have a meaningful relationship is parental suicide. Invest in children when they are young and it will return as they become older. I asked my daughter for her thoughts and suggestions of things we had done together that had helped her and that might be a help to other fathers desiring to help their daughters and sons lead happy, fulfilling, and Christ centered lives.

  • We often went (still do as possible) for a weekly date
  • Bike rides
  • Snowball fights
  • You always allowed me to ask you anything – even about boys and answered honestly. You did not act shocked or get angry. If the subject matter was to mature for my age, you used the following anecdote: “Some subjects are like heavy suitcases and you are too young to carry them right now. Let dad carry them for you and the time will come when you will be big enough to carry them on your own.”
  • When working at home he never made work seem more important than me
  • Didn’t correct in anger; I was sent to my room and corrected later
  • Encouraged Bible times: I would write a Bible question at night and dad would have a written answer for me in the morning.
  • Tried to be at all major events: graduations, birthdays
  • Encouraged me and pushed me to work for something if I wanted it and to do my best.
  • Gave me my space but made sure I knew that he was there if needed
  • Praying with me in church – Dad always said parents need to “Keep your hands on your kiddos!”
  • Walking the aisles together during church prayer time
  • You did not answer phone calls when we were eating together. It always made mom and I feel like we were important and had your attention.
  • We have prayed together almost every night since I was four years old – even over the telephone.

Maybe some of these ideas can be a help to you and yours. No matter where you are in the development of your family it’s never too late to try. Be patient, laugh, cry, and above all - pray together. Jesus Christ is the glue that holds everything together.

P.S. If you might be interested in more thoughts on parenting or this blog has been a blessing to you, please leave a comment below. 

Special Thanks to my friend and fellow minister, Pastor Rick McGuffey, for encouraging me to write along these lines.


02-14-2019 at 7:45 PM
Dennis Johnson
I'm proud of you,for i know Jesus changed your life and turned you around. God bless you.
12-12-2018 at 6:45 AM
Harlan Morgan
Thank you for these insights!
12-12-2018 at 1:21 AM
Peter Connell
I sure did enjoy reading this post - and Cassie’s recollections were an excellent part of it. She’s a great girl, and your good parenting is in large part responsible for that. Many good points made here - and the suitcase analogy was perfect. I’ll remember and use that. Instruction on good parenting is a critical need in our day. Keep writing!
12-11-2018 at 12:23 PM
Great reading as always. Thank you!
Post a Comment

Join Our Mailing List

JPS Ministries Updates