Three Ways for Parents to be Teammates

By Alicia LaCasse

I believe my parents did their best to love and raise my brothers and me, and I really do think we turned out pretty great. That said, even before I became a mother I knew I wanted to discipline and make decisions differently than my parents.

When I was a kid, it seemed my mom was the decision-maker and disciplinarian, and my dad didn’t have much of an opinion. He didn’t spank and didn’t really yell much. The stock answer to, “Dad can I…?” was usually, “Go ask your ma.” Generally, as long as we let him watch Andy Griffith and stayed out of his hair, it seemed we never heard much from my dad at all.

There were other times that I recall my mom saying, “No,” and my dad saying, “Yes.” I didn’t see them working together to make decisions, and remember feeling the tension between my parents when it came to us kids. It seemed like a parenting partnership was a struggle for them. Because of this, there were times when our family felt disjointed. As kids, we played one parent against the other and behaved as if getting our own way was more important than how anyone else felt. We often felt insecure and made a lot of mistakes that upset our parents and surely dishonored God.

Colossians 3:20 says, “Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord.”

I believe it’s a lot easier for kids to please God and obey their parents when they are being loved and disciplined consistently. When my son Marshall was born, I decided I wanted him to feel peace in his home and secure in the love of his parents. I realized this would require me to be teammates with his dad.

Here are three ways we’ve partnered together as parents:

1. We make decisions together.

Marshall’s dad and I have an ongoing conversation about the way we are raising our son. Whether big or small decisions about Marshall, we make them together. Kids begin to understand problem solving when they see their parents working together.

2. We have each other’s backs.

When disciplining, Marshall’s dad and I back each other up. Even at 2 years old, Marshall knows that right and wrong do not depend on the parent. In addition, I have decided that even if I disagree with his reason for or method of discipline, I won’t do so in front of our child.

3. We treat each other with respect, especially when our son is watching.

Because Marshall identifies with his dad, I make sure he sees me interacting positively with him. I want Marshall to have a healthy self-esteem, and if he believes that I think his father is good, my son feels that he is also good.

I am not a perfect parent, and I know I will make many mistakes in the course of Marshall’s life. My hope is that by being mindful of how I’m parenting, I can better raise my son to intentionally honor his parents and know that he is pleasing the Lord.

Alicia LaCasseAlicia resides in Hugo with her 2 year-old son Marshall and their two cats, Frank and Milo. She tweets at @amlalilac.

A Time For Everything: Day 36

Albert Einstein coined the phrase: “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” Isn’t that the truth? The more we learn about the inner workings of the brain, the millions of creatures that live in the ocean, and all the hidden menu items at Starbucks, the more we realize the less we actually know.

Solomon carried the same line of thinking: “For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.” The more we listen to the opinions of current events on the radio and Hollywood stars on reality TV, the more sorrow we may feel. Because this world certainly isn’t perfect; everyone has free will, and everyone sins. Decisions may instigate anger, actions may invoke fear, and people may disappoint.

But God? Jesus? The Bible? They are truly the opposite. The more we learn about God’s character: slow to anger, full of peace, offering victory; the more joy we will feel. The more we understand God’s truth and how it’s relevant in our lives, the more we are comforted and filled with cheer. In the same way, the more we learn about God, the more we realize how much we don’t know. Because, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are his ways higher than your ways and his thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)

No matter how much you feel like you know or don’t know, let’s all take heart today in the God who knows all things and loves us just the same.

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 1:12-18

The Teacher Speaks: The Futility of Wisdom

12 I, the Teacher, was king of Israel, and I lived in Jerusalem. 13 I devoted myself to search for understanding and to explore by wisdom everything being done under heaven. I soon discovered that God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race. 14 I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind.

15 What is wrong cannot be made right.
What is missing cannot be recovered.

16 I said to myself, “Look, I am wiser than any of the kings who ruled in Jerusalem before me. I have greater wisdom and knowledge than any of them.” 17 So I set out to learn everything from wisdom to madness and folly. But I learned firsthand that pursuing all this is like chasing the wind.

18 The greater my wisdom, the greater my grief.
To increase knowledge only increases sorrow.