What Great Parents Do


That’s me stylin’ the plaid sports coat circa 1976-77.

Parents should be their children’s first and primary teachers.  Both in classical and Biblical education.  Churches and schools (private or public) are aids to help parents do their job of teaching.  A good education begins, continues, and culminates at home.  That was the idea of the SHEMA in Deu 6:3ff.  The Law of Moses commanded the parents in Israel to daily – all day – teach their children to know that “The Lord your God, He is One.”  They were to teach that they should love the Lord their God with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their mind, and with all their might.  They were to teach this as they got out of bed, as they walked on the road, in other words – all day long.  Educational training does not start and end with the school bell.

That being the case, much of what education author, Todd Whitaker writes in “What Great Teachers Do Differently” {2nd Edition (Larchmont, NY:Eye on Eye Education) 2012}, applies to you as your child’s first and primary teacher.  For instance in chapter 11 Whitaker discusses teachers and how they  repair relationships with students.  Here is how the principles he discusses apply to parents:

Need to Repair – But Never Do: Some parents need to repair relationships with their children but never do. What?!?  As parents we sometimes make mistakes.  Last school year, Amy and I rose from bed and began getting ready for Sunday morning Bible Class and assembly.  We knocked on Andrew’s door and told him to start getting up (he was 14 at the time).  I went to shave, Amy started work on hair and make-up.  I looked over my lessons and had breakfast.  Amy fixed her breakfast and we realized Andrew was not up.  We became frustrated, we needed to leave in just a few minutes and he was still in bed.  We told him, leaving no room for doubt, that we needed to leave or we were going to be late.  “Why do we need to be there before 8:00?” He said as he was starting to get ready.  “It is almost 9:00!” I huffed.  Then I looked at the clock – it was before 8:00, he was right.  Our alarm had gone off early and we never checked the time.  We APOLOGIZED!

I am Sorry That Happened: Parents, learn to say you are sorry.  Learn to say, “I am sorry that happened.”  Even if you were unaware of your part in the pain.  The story has to do with my role as a minister, but I think best illustrates this point.  Years ago a man approached me on a Sunday morning after our assembly. “Scott, why don’t you like me any more?”  I was floored.  I liked this man and his family.  They were good workers in the church.  I replied, “I do like you, and love you as my brother in Christ.  Why do you think I don’t like you?”  He explained that I appeared to be avoiding him.  For the last month, he perceived that I had not made an effort to speak to him.  (In my defense there were an average of over 300 each Sunday at that time, I could not talk to everyone.)  What did I do?  What did I say?  I said, “I am sorry I made you feel that way, please know I do like and love you and will do anything I can for you.  I may not be able to talk to you every assembly, but I will try to speak to you as often as possible.”  We “man-hugged” and he promised to come to me and not wait for me to come to him.

Never Need to Repair – Always Do: Simply put, if we want to be great parents, we must always work to repair and maintain our relationship with our children.  Your children and others may think everything is good, and if you work hard to maintain and repair it will be, but learn to keep it that way.  Consider Jesus’ relationship advice in Mat 5:23-26 and Mat 18:15-17.  We have the responsibility to work things out with others – especially our spouse and children.

Good parents work hard to avoid personally hurting their children physically or emotionally.  Great parents also work hard to repair any inadvertent damage.

– Scott

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