Since I became a parent 12 1/2 years ago, I've had to make a lot of decisions. Some I knew were coming. Some I never dreamed I would have to make. Some I got right. Some I got wrong. And some the jury is still out on.
We all have to make some tough decisions as parents. It starts when our kids are born. Do I breastfeed or bottle-feed? Cloth diapers or disposable? Crib or bassinet?
And the decisions just get bigger as our kids get older. Public school, homeschool or private school? Sports, dance or Girl Scouts? Accelerated math or regular math? Soccer or baseball?
When they get ready to leave home, we find ourselves faced with helping our kids make even bigger decisions. What do I major in? Where do I go to college? What do I want to do with the rest of my life?
So many decisions and so many doubts. I don't know about you, but whenever I make a big decision for or with my kids, I often second-guess myself. I wonder if this decision is the right one. I wonder if we will regret it down the road. I wonder if my kids will point to that decision as the worst one of their childhood.
When we parents make a bad decision, when our decisions land our kids in a tough place, we tend to dwell on it. We tend to beat ourselves up for it. Sometimes we get stuck in that place, unable to move forward.
I want to share one important piece of information with you today: No parent is perfect. We all screw it up sometimes. We all make a bad decision every now and then that lands our kids in a place we'd rather they not be. No matter how idyllic a childhood seems, that child has a parent who has screwed up.
We spend so much time trying to do the right thing for our kids, trying to make the right decisions, trying to be the "perfect" parent that we lose sight of the fact that we're chasing an impossible goal.
I'm not perfect (that does not come as a newsflash to my family), and neither are you. No one is. And that's OK.
You see, our kids don't need perfect parents. Our kids need parents who make the best decisions they can with the information they have. They need parents who are truly seeking God's will. They need parents who aren't afraid to make the tough decisions. They need parents who can recognize their mistakes and work to fix them.
Lucky for us, kids are extremely forgiving and extremely resilient. A few bad decisions over the course of a childhood aren't going to break them. As a matter of fact, a little adversity in their lives will make them better able to deal with trouble when it comes their way as adults. Watching us deal with fixing a mistake teaches them how to move on from a mistake themselves.
You're not going to get this parenting thing right 100% of the time. But don't worry. Your kids don't need you to always be right. They don't need you to be perfect. They simply need you to be a parent who loves them and can show them God's grace and love. You can do that even in the midst of your imperfection.