Do you ever wonder what kind of impact you’re making on your family?
I think some of my insecurity as a parent comes from looking constantly for the fruits of my labor. Where is the evidence I’ve been here? Where are the behavior improvements? Where are the shiny beacons of love and respect?
Over-analyzing my parenting as if it is a math problems to solve has only led to anxiety.
This past week, I had the pleasure of taking my eldest and quietest daughter on a road trip to look at colleges. I found myself wanting to mine the depths of all of our years together, find out what had stuck, what had gone right and wrong. Don’t worry—I resisted the temptation.
Instead, I tried to let her lead conversations as we listened to her music playlist and stopped to take photos. And I remembered in the quiet pauses and the punctuations of laughter that parenting is much more about small moments than big ones.
Our best parenting efforts often feel insignificant, more like tending a small cactus than cultivating a fruit tree. We offer a little encouragement here. A little correction there. It is painfully slow at times.
In 1 Peter 4:8 we are encouraged to “keep loving one other earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” This daily, practical love we offer is how we shepherd them toward a righteous life. As we are intentional and authentic, it is the patient love of God shown through us that will lead them.
It takes time. It may be years later that we get enough distance to see the fingerprints of our love on display in their lives. It may happen not until we are driving them around colleges and don’t really want the distance at all.
Are you doing enough for your kids? Absolutely. Keep loving earnestly and waiting patiently, allowing love to lead, one day at a time.