Last week, we met our beautiful granddaughter, Maya.
She is one year old and we are all in love!
Maya is the adopted child of my eldest daughter and her husband, their first child, and our third grandchild.
This has been a journey of over five years: a journey of faith, patience and courage as they have believed for this moment. In fact, I remember writing a reference for Shannon and Rebecca as part of the application process for intercountry adoption. What I said then, is still true to this day.
I was looking back on that and thinking about what makes great parents. There are four traits I identified in recommending Shannon and Rebecca to the Australian government as adoptive parents, and they are four things I want to continue to cultivate as a parent and a grandparent in my own life.
These are the four things I believe are necessary for every parent to consider if they want to be the best they can be for their children.
Parents may feel overwhelmed by the increase and speed of knowledge, and they may wonder, how can we successfully raise children who may live in a very different world?
There are so many places to find more information and more knowledge on how to be a good parent and what makes a good child.
There is no doubt that in 20 years time my grandchildren will live in a far more knowledgeable world. It is not beyond the realms of a world filled with artificial intelligence and advanced assistive technology.
But none of it compares to wisdom.
Wisdom is the advantage and the great resource you can give your child.
Teaching them that just because something is able to be done or said, doesn’t mean it should be. Knowing what to do and say in any given situation is not necessarily just a matter of knowledge, but wisdom.
More knowledge with less wisdom can take that knowledge from being an advantage to human kind to a disadvantage.
For me the beginning place of all wisdom is to know God. To bring a child to the place where they experience the love and grace of God through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
The Bible says in Job 12:13, “True wisdom and real power belong to God;from him we learn how to live, and also what to live for.”
There are many types of security. To name a few: physical, emotional, financial security.
I love that my grandchildren will grow up in a loving, caring safe and protected family environment.
All parents have a responsibility, to the very best of their ability, to provide for their children.
Do you have a solid approach to securing future financial security? It is an important part of every parent’s role to provide their family with needed security, protection and provisions. What can you do today to help build an inheritance for your children’s children? Spend less? Save more?
Every child deserves a safe environment to grow and thrive. There are no exceptions. This should go without saying but unfortunately there are too many (while there is even one) children living in environments that are not safe, whether physically, emotionally and environmentally. You can be the difference.
What’s more, no child should ever feel like the “only one”. When it comes to building a secure self esteem and resilience, we all need a sense of belonging to others, to humanity, to family.
I believe that every child needs a warm and loving sense of “home.”
This secure home environment, whether it has the latest gadgets or furniture, the latest shoes or clothes, is far more valuable than any gift you could give them. Knowing you are a safe place, a security, will help them grow to live a healthy, vibrant and fun-loving life.
We say we love our car, our house, our holiday, our food, then, in the same breath, we also love our children, family and friends.
Things can be seen as objects of usefulness or obstacles that hinder. People should never be seen in this way.
Genuine love and concern for others needs to be passed on by example, not just speech. As parents, your integrity in how you love others will stay with your children for life.
People deserve love not objectifying.
Paul, the Apostle, wrote in Ephesians 5:2, “and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” That is what Christ was like.
He gives himself up, as Paul reminds us here. He is forever thinking of someone else. He is always reaching out toward someone else.
As a parent we are always conscious of “the someone else” in our life.
Love is a lifestyle. Love is observable and tangible.
Dr Barnhouse (March 28, 1895 – November 5, 1960), said referring to love in all its fulness:
“Love is the key
Joy is love singing
Peace is love resting
Longsuffering is love enduring
Kindness is love touching
Goodness is loves character
Faithfulness is loves habit
Gentleness is loves self forgetfulness
Self control is love holding the reigns.”
If anything captures the attention of children living in a despairing world, it’s hope-filled parents.
When I was diagnosed with MND/ALS, I knew my children would follow my lead through this journey. If I lived with hope, they would also. We as a family didn’t surrender to the “nothing you can do attitude.” I might not be able to get back the motor neurones that had already died, but I could give the surviving ones a fighting chance. My children responded to that.
They are with me in actively fighting this deadly disease. That’s HOPE and it’s contagious.
Some parents are unfortunately so negative about everything that they will never instil a spirit of hope for a better future in their children.
The fact is that our hope must be so observable so that others can see it.
Hope is a steady persistent optimism and trust in God. It’s not just about loving God but also trusting Him.
1 John 3: 1 “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”
I finish this blog by encouraging you that, everything I’ve said about an earthly parent is also true of our heavenly Father towards us.
God is the source of all wisdom, He loves us unconditionally, He provides and protects and He has provided the ultimate hope in heaven and eternity.
Not only that but with arms outstretched, He offered us adoption into His own family. Our step towards Him is to put our faith and trust in Jesus. It’s the best decision we can ever make.
Have a blessed day!
From a very happy grandpa & a very proud parent,
October 6, 2017 at 9:06 am
thanks Phil,as always an encouraging wise blog.Still being transformed daily on the long road of parenthood and soon to be a grandpa too! Blessings Rick Chapman.
October 6, 2017 at 3:31 pm
Excellent wise and full of hope 💕
October 6, 2017 at 7:25 pm
Fantastic principles very well articulated, and because we know you. We see you living them out. Well done Phil.
October 9, 2017 at 8:03 pm
October 7, 2017 at 8:19 pm
Great words Phil so true. Winston Churchill said “Never, never ,never give up” but our greatest philosopher the Lord Jesus Christ said ‘Just believe’ A beautiful little granddaughter to love.
Bless you, Leigh & Sid
October 9, 2017 at 8:39 am
Maya is beautiful, Phil. I’m happy she’s now part of a great and loving family. Great parenting advice – hope really is contagious and so is love.
I pray you are doing well.
October 9, 2017 at 8:07 pm
Thanks Bill. Yes so true love is contagious. Maya is so beautiful and such a blessing. Im do well. House is looking more like a hospital with doors being made suitable for wheelchair and auto opening. You know better then any Im sure. I also pray for you and hope you are doing well.