My children and I had as diverse an upbringing as you could ever imagine.
I was one of 6; they were one of 2.
I saw police frequently at my home; they never did.
I got my first job at age 9 to help support our family; they were blissfully unaware of financial responsibility at age 9.
I lived in the same housing commission home until I was married at age 19; they had travelled the world and lived in several homes by age 19.
You may be reading this and wondering, as I did, “how will I ever be a successful parent, given the upbringing that I have had?”
I can tell you from personal experience that even though your upbringing may have taught you more about what not to do than what to do, you can be the catalyst that brings lasting change, not just for your children, but for generations to come.
These are a few things I hope will help you (as they helped me) be that change:
- Find the courage to stay engaged in healthy relationships. By doing this, you can expose your kids to examples of who they could become. My mother, a single parent for many years, took me to a monthly men’s breakfast at our church and sat up the back while I interacted with men of great character.
- In the early years, I read whatever I could get my hands on with regards to parenting from reputable authors. Having parenting resources on hand was an invaluable parenting tool.
- Don’t be scared to ask for help from another parent who you admire and who has gone before you. [Tip: initiate a coffee catch up, keep to the agreed time and foot the bill – this shows that you value them and their input].
- I prayed a lot. God wants to give you His wisdom and guidance in your daily parenting choices: you are not alone. I also prayed for my kids while they slept.
- This may be a strange one, but have things in your child’s world that stay the same. I always wore the same “Kouros” aftershave. I later found out that if I was away, my girls would spray some on their teddy bears so they could “smell dad”. I think these tokens of consistency can be incredibly stabilising to a child’s environment.
- There is no better way to set your kids up for success in their own marriage than to love your spouse wholeheartedly. Speak highly of your spouse, be best friends, and encourage them to reach their full potential.
- I never forced my own faith on my girls but I lived my faith day in and day out. They would see me reading my bible, making Sundays at church the best day of the week, and being the same man at home as at the pulpit. Today, they love church, and are secure in their faith. Nothing blesses my heart more.
It’s never too late to be the change in your family.
Psalm 145:4: One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.
January 10, 2014 at 10:24 am
Brilliant Phil! Your girls are a wonderful testament to the both of you.
January 15, 2014 at 8:56 am
Thanks mate it was great seeing you the other day. Hope you didn’t get stuck ion those sand hills.
January 10, 2014 at 10:39 am
Great words thanks Phil, so true, I need the Lord’s wisdom more and more as a mum in my boys lives, what an honour to be able to pray for them while they sleep, one of my favourites, and also love the idea of the aftershave on teddies!!!
January 15, 2014 at 8:57 am
Thanks Kerry, yes we all need wisdom and thankfully He provides.
January 10, 2014 at 10:41 am
Brilliant Phil! Your girls are a great testament to the both of you.
January 10, 2014 at 11:47 am
It is hard to believe that you came from a family of atheists. So thankful that all your immediate family loves The Lord and are on their way to heaven. So thankful that mothers and fathers prayers are answered.So thankful we can remember where we were delivered from so we can share Gods love. If He died for me He certainly died for each and every one on this planet. He can change every yielded soul. Hallelujah!
January 15, 2014 at 8:58 am
Thanks Wendy, yes the prayers of others make a huge difference.
January 10, 2014 at 2:56 pm
Great words Phil. My husband had a similar upbringing. He is 1 of 12 & grew up in housing commission exposed to alcoholism, violence, gambling & drugs. Thank God he managed to get out & has made the choice to not be part of the cycle. It’s men like you that encourage him to stay the path, Thank you
January 15, 2014 at 8:59 am
Thanks Rachel and may your family continue top grow from strength to strength.
January 13, 2014 at 8:49 am
Great blog Phil. Much wisdom here for all. Thanks!
January 15, 2014 at 8:59 am
Thanks Mick appreciate mate.
January 13, 2014 at 12:10 pm
Love your Mum’s patience in taking you the men’s breakfast and sitting at the back!!! That rally takes on going commitment – very special! And look what an impact her faithfulness had!!!! Love you Phil!!!
January 15, 2014 at 9:01 am
Yes thank God for mums who pray.
January 13, 2014 at 12:14 pm
In our children’s early years we kept alot of things the same, same routine, same dinner time same sleep time. it is not only their body clock that remembers that but their security that is bolstered by the sense of sameness. 4 secure walls 3 secure meals and parent/s that love to be there at those times. A secure foundation, a place to build apon.
January 15, 2014 at 9:02 am
Thanks Damien, yes your right and great parenting mate. Thanks for the follow and comments.