At no other stage of your life will you learn more about yourself than as a parent. The reason is simple: you will be gravely accountable for guiding the personal, experiential, and spiritual development of another human being. Your values and the impact of your own lessons learned in these areas will influence your approach. And at times, those values and lessons will clash with your children’s perspectives about your approach.
Don’t underestimate the importance of your role as a parent. It is a serious job, role, and function. The degree to which you embrace the accountability will be the difference between your label as “dad” or a father, or as “mom” or a mother. In each case, the former suggests a relationship; the latter, a connection. In their youth, your children will depend on you. They will look up to you and trust that your actions and words are true simply because they will not know any better. As they grow and mature, they will challenge your actions and words simply because they are coming into their own. They should; they are exploring their own mindsets, beliefs, and worldviews relative to what you have impressed upon them. During these times, your relationship with them will serve you well.
There will be times when you will question your words, actions, and thoughts, especially if you are blessed to parent in partnership with your wife or husband. You have plenty of other help, too: God and his Holy word; other parents who have experienced much of what you have; and, ironically, your children, who will permit a level of introspective reflection that leads to great insight.
Remember that your children may become parents themselves. And the cycle will repeat. It should, otherwise growth does not truly occur. They will grow to appreciate the guidance of your knowledge and wisdom, and may even reassure you that your approach was more right than wrong. Maybe they will mimic your words and actions in their own parenting.
As you reflect on your journey, give thanks to the Lord for His steadfast love and guiding hand over you and your family. Pray that your children will know His love for them and over them–and their own children.