Welcome back. Yesterday, I spent the majority of the time talking to specifically students. Parents, I hope that you read the information as well, so that you can help your students not make the same mistakes I did.
But today, I’m talking to you, parents. Students, I recommend you read this too, so that you can both know how important your parents are AND know what to do once you become a parent.
Parents, I know you know how important you are in your students’ lives, even when they don’t show it. Let’s be honest right now, your student wouldn’t be alive without you. Yes, I went there. Sorry about that.
But, the sad part is, I don’t think your student realizes how important you are. Don’t be alarmed. If you have a middle or high schooler, this whole “mom/dad isn’t cool” thing is really just a phase. It goes away. Don’t lose hope.
One day, I promise you, your student will come to the realization, whether in college or when they reach parenthood, that you really did know what you were talking about and that you actually are very smart. They’ll realize that you did way more than you should’ve done for a human simply because you loved them more than you loved yourself.
I want to encourage you as parents that what you’re doing for your students, though it may seem fruitless at the moment, is incredibly important. I wouldn’t be where I am or where I’ve been had it not been for my mom’s constant support and love, even when I made boneheaded decisions along the way.
So, moms and dads, this one is for you. Here’s my crash course coaching session for you, coming from someone who’s observed lots of parents over the past few years. What I say may seem like common sense or obvious, but your student really needs you to keep on doing these things.
1. Don’t stop praying for your students. I am the product of a praying mother. She prayed for me before she and my dad adopted me without even knowing who I was, and she still prays for me to this day. Your prayers will not go unanswered, whether by the giving of immediate grace or the withholding of grace until a point in time when God sees fit to give it. Yes, your little brat of a student may make you want to pray, “God, just give him/her some invisible duct tape over his/her mouth today so I don’t have to deal with his/her attitude.” I get it. I was a brat. Sometimes I still am. But, as a parent, you really do know what’s best for your student. So keep praying for the best: for their future spouse, for their calling, for their college choices. Don’t stop.
2. Don’t be their friend until they’ve earned it. I’ve observed so many parents try to be friends with their students before it was time for that relationship to exist, and it has made for some terribly rude and entitled students. There inevitably comes a time in your parenting where you literally have done all you can to give your students the correct foundation so they can build on it, but until then don’t let up. You are their most important life coach, whether they choose to admit it or not. But, I’ve observed that good parenting is less “because I said so” and more about conversation. I’m not saying that your student’s side of the dialogue should radically influence your parenting, but parenting IS a reciprocal process. If it wasn’t, you’d be trying to raise a rock. So have open lines of communication in your parenting, be authentic, and don’t let up on coaching them to success.
3. Don’t let them check out of church. If you’re a parent who is a faithful member of a local church, then this one is specifically for you. If you aren’t, then my advice to you is that it’s never too early to get plugged into a growing, Christ-honoring church in your area. One of the best rules about church that I’ve seen in families is, “As long as you live under my roof, you will be in church on Sundays.” For students that can’t drive, that’s kind of a no-brainer. They HAVE to go where you as parents go. But, if you don’t build that foundation of going to a vibrant and thriving church with something for your students early on, then when they turn 16 and have a set of car keys, they will most likely choose sleep over Sunday school. Because of the foundation my mom laid for church, I made the choice to wake up and get to service and Sunday school. The key factor is that the church you go to really needs to have a place where your student can call home and connect once “big church” is dismissed.
I know I’ve never been a parent. I’m only 21. I’m still in this whole student category. But trust me, these three things will ensure that you have students who will honor you and thank you at some point in their lives.
Maybe you’re neither a student nor a parent. Maybe you’re the one getting the comments FROM parents. Maybe you’re a teacher. I want you to come back tomorrow then, because I’ll have something just for you.