Every parent wants to become a better parent, and rightly so. We should all be striving to improve ourselves on an ongoing basis for the sake of our family and our kids.
However, many of us fail to ever tap into one of the greatest resources that can improve our parenting skills and give us the knowledge and ideas needed to parent successfully.
What is it? Very simply, ASK.
One of the advantages to parenting (or just about anything else in life) is that you can learn from the mistakes of others without having to repeat them yourself, if you want to. There is a wealth of biblical and practical parenting knowledge out there in the hearts and minds of other parents, just waiting for you to tap into it. Not only that, it follows the biblical pattern for learning life lessons from others who’ve gone before us. (Proverbs 16:31, 2 Timothy 2:2, Titus 2:3-5)
So here’s what you need to do:
- Find some older parents or a young family that you can… Ask. It might be some older parents who’ve been there, done that, and got the t-shirt, having already raised godly children, that you can seek out and ask about their parenting advice. Or… find a young family your same age whose kids seem to reflect that they’re doing things right, and ask them questions and specifics about what they are and aren’t doing that works. And don’t be shy about asking. You’re going to find that almost anyone who loves the Lord and the next generation will be more than delighted to share any wisdom they’ve acquired through experience.
- Have a list of specific questions ready to ask. I’d encourage you to come up with plenty of your own questions, but here are some important ones you might consider including in your list: (These could be asked in past or present tense, depending on who your asking)
- How did you discipline?
- What kind of daily or weekly schedule did you keep?
- How often were you in church, and how did that affect your family and parenting?
- Did you spend regular time as a family around the Bible?
- What was something you did that you feel was one of your biggest parenting successes?
- If you could do it over again, what was one of your biggest parenting mistakes?
- Did you ever have to treat or discipline your children differently based upon their specific needs or personalities?
- What kind of things did you do (or rules and guidelines did you have) to protect your kids from wrong influences?
- What are some practical suggestions for a family like ours?
- What are some blind spots that you may have observed in our parenting?
- Take notes of their answers that you can refer back to. The last thing you want to do is waste someone else’s time, so make sure you are prepared with your list of questions, and also make sure that you maximize upon the opportunity by taking notes. Don’t be afraid to pry into their answers by asking for more details and getting more specific responses. Remember, you want to benefit from this experience as much as possible. Also, if their kids are teenagers or adults now themselves, consider meeting with them and asking them some questions too.
- Implement what you learn into your own parenting. Asking, as good as it is, does no good for you or your family, if you do nothing with it. Granted, you may not use everything, because every family is unique in their own good way, but even if you don’t initially like all of their ideas and suggestions, remember the end result that drew you to them in the first place. Apparently, what they are doing (or have done) must have worked or you would not have specifically sought them out to seek for their advice. Make sure you walk away with at least one or two golden nuggets of parenting wisdom that you can put into practice.
Someone has already successfully walked the same path that you are currently on. Wouldn’t it be foolish not to try and learn from their wisdom, so that you don’t repeat their mistakes?
Now, you may be thinking, “This is a great idea. I’m going to do it!” But remember, good intentions don’t usually cut it. What gets scheduled, get’s done. So don’t let today pass without talking to your spouse, picking out a couple or family that you can talk to, and setting up a time within the next week or two to get together and make this happen. Your family will thank you for it.
So, what older couple, or what family has already come to mind as you’re reading this?… It doesn’t matter whether you are a family in serious need of some good counsel, a family who seems to, for the most part, have it all together, or even a family who is serving in full-time ministry. We could all benefit from seeking out someone older or wiser that could help us to become better parents.
Will you accept the ASK Challenge? Here’s a simple way to remember what you need to do:
- A – Ask (Pick a family!)
- S – Specific Questions (Put together a list!)
- K – Knowledge is Power (Put it into practice!)
Are you up for the challenge?… Feel free to let me know (via a comment, email, or the contact page) if you commit to doing this. Then drop me a line when you’ve actually done it, and I’ll gladly send you a couple of free parenting resources to further help you in your parenting journey. You can do this!
I’d encourage you to share this idea with other families as well.
For the next generation,