May 21. “When dads shoot straight, the kids will hit the mark.” (Adrian Rogers)
Those of us who are parents know that our children are images of ourselves that are projected into the future. Dads and moms know that if they want their children to hit the mark, they themselves must be pointed in the right direction. I can tell you from my personal experience, that is a terrifying concept.
When my wife and I were young parents we worried about how our children would turn out. Every day, even back then, you could read stories in the newspaper about children who were getting themselves into trouble, some very deep trouble at times. Things like drugs and violence were as much a scourge on society then as now. We wondered whether we would have the strength and good judgment of our own parents to be able to have our children turn out well. We knew that it would take daily effort on both our parts to help shape and mold their minds and spirits into those of fine citizens and people.
It is interesting to me to think about stories of how true this statement is. One in particular strikes me as interesting. A few years back, on a warm summer evening, my wife and I were preparing for an upcoming camping trip. I was off to the store to pick something up. My wife, son and his girlfriend were at home. Suddenly, as my wife was passing through our living room, there was a face pressed against our bay window, and hands rapping on the glass. She let out a shriek, which sprang my son into action. The boy who had been standing in our landscaping was now running down the street with his friends. My son pursued and caught them.
My son and wife marched them back to their homes to discuss with their parents what had happened. At the home of the boy who had peeped into my window, she met up with the lad’s parents. Now, had this been someone coming to my home to tell me this about my children, I would thank them and then deal with my child. But this dad was belligerent with my wife and son, seeing nothing at all wrong with his peeping tom son’s actions. When I learned of this that evening, my second reaction (my first was a desire to go educate the father on how to parent – but my wife discouraged that action), was to think that indeed the apple had not fallen far from the tree.
I am not saying that my children would never have pulled a prank like that. Every adolescent does things that their parents cringe at the thought of. But, the attitude of tolerance, and disdain for authority was clearly evident in both father and son.
There have been a few occasions when my wife and I have been asked what our secret was to raising our four amazing children. It is a humbling experience when another parent seeks me for advice. The advice we most often give is that parents need to be on the same page as each other on things, and that they need to show consistency to their children. Their values can’t be negotiable, and their decisions must stand together. By doing that it helps set up a framework for the children, and models for them a best practice that they can pass along later.
The other thing I like to say to parents worried about their children is that the very fact that they, as parents, are concerned enough about it to be giving deep thought and seeking counsel gives their children an immediate advantage. In all the years our children were in school, we attended many functions that included parents. Sadly, and all too often, it was easy to pick out the parents of the misbehaving children. The children were indeed images of their parents attitudes and behaviors projected into the future.
This quote focuses on the role of the dad and his influence on the children. I would expand it out to parents in general. When a parent shoots straight, the kids will hit the mark. And, when there are two parents who are both shooting straight in the same direction, the children will most often hit the same mark. That, to me, is a key point in good parenting.