This'll be a short one.
How many of us would start a job without training? How many of us would go skydiving without asking advice from someone who has done it before? How many of us would go drive our cars if we didn't know our mechanic knew more about cars than we do?
Of course none of us do these things. But we dive into parenting (which is more important and perilous than any of those other things) with only our own experience to guide us. Yes, it is true that we were all kids once. We all had (some sort of) parents. That doesn't qualify us to be parents any more than watching the Super Bowl qualifies me to be a quarterback.
(I am reminded of a Calvin and Hobbes comic strip where Calvin asks his dad what lightning is or how they build bridges or something, and his dad gives him some made-up ridiculous answer. Calvin says something like: "There aren't many requirements for being a dad, are there?")
There are several problems with this.
1. Our parents didn't do a perfect job. (Some maybe came close, some not so much). And even if they were perfect, we are not perfect receptors.
2. We are not our parents. (We may not be as smart, patient, etc. as they were. Or maybe we are smarter, and they gave us a bad example.)
3. We are not living in the same culture as when we were kids.(Some challenges are the same, some are new. When I was a kid, my parents didn't have to worry about me looking at porn on the internet or meeting girls on Facebook. Now we do have to deal with these things--the nature of kids is the same, the prevalence of temptation is, in many cases, greater.)
4. Like anything else, if we neglect those who have gone before us, we are asking to repeat the mistakes of the past.
I know this sounds like an ad. for this blog. It's not. I merely want to make us aware that we all need to approach our status as parents with humility, grace, and a little humor.
I am often convicted of this when Natalie says: "Dad, you always...(forget, leave, are mean, tickle me too hard, ignore me, etc...) Our culture is such that offering parenting advice (or even thoughts) is taboo. And this even among Christians! As Christians we admit our sinful nature and our need for each other. I hope we can somehow create a new culture (right under the nose of the other one!) where it's ok to admit our shortcomings as parents and explore together what it means to be a Christian first and a parent second.
Peace hope and love,