Professionals will tell you they don’t know everything, but are in practice to help with what they do know and have learned through experience. As parents we can sometimes forget the reality of our calling as parents. We are to guide, guard, direct, and love our children principally through the supernatural empowerment of God, but realizing our imperfections, mistakes, shortcomings and weaknesses do not disqualify us. Yesterday, we went canoeing on a local river with our daughter and her three children. We were in our canoe with the six year-old and the others were in their single person kaiaks. While we had paddled on this section of the river many times it was a first for our granddaughters. I gave them some cautionary information at first, particularly, the heaviness and force of water even two feet deep and I said their mother would be the first to go down each rapid with them following and we would be the last. This was so their mother could show them the best route through the rapid or at least the way not to take if she made a mistake. We would be last so we could assist if anyone got into trouble. We had a great time and everyone was great at paddling. It pointed out how as parents we have knowledge and experience our children do not, but we are still subject to mistakes.
For parents who have made fairly serious and/or public mistakes, we may think we have lost our ability to parent, but it’s a lie, we have experience to share with our children, “Don’t take the route I did, go the other way.” It may be necessary to ask for and receive forgiveness, but it will not disqualify us as parents. Much of parenting is being there in the rapids of life together or close so that we can render assistance when our children get into trouble or make their own mistakes. Paddling offers some good illustrations for parenting, we each have to do our own paddling and make our own decisions. For children it is a progression, when they are young we pick them up and make decisions for them, but as they grow our control and influence changes, because they must develop their own decision making ability. A huge mistake is to be a helicopter parent hovering just above always rescuing, even before a rescue is needed. Your children will learn and see your mistakes, but they will also see how you overcome and humbly address your mistakes and weaknesses. How to do this before God and others with integrity, grace, respect and forgiveness is an invaluable lesson. God does not discharge parental responsibility lightly, He is for us and stands by helping as we turn and seek Him in one of the greatest duties He gives, the practice of Parenting.