I picked up my son, Emerson, from school the other day. He seemed extra excited to see me. When he climbed into my car, he handed me a package and told me it was an early Christmas present. I opened it up and found a pin inside that read, "Best Dad Ever".
That really got to me.
See, I'm fully aware that I am not the best dad ever. There are plenty of things I wish I would have handled differently along the way as a parent. I've made my share of mistakes.
But Emerson gave it to me anyway. That proves what a loving kid he is. And it means the world to me.
The truth of the matter is none of us parents are perfect. We all have shortcomings in one area or another. When it comes to raising kids, we dads and moms are all works in progress.
Even though none of us are perfect parents, we all would do well to focus on...
1). Loving our spouse. Kids need to see dads and moms treat each other right. It gives them a sense of security when their parents have a good, healthy relationship. And if we are divorced from that spouse, they still need to see us being respectful and considerate of one another. The bottom line is this: Sons and daughters don't benefit when their parents are at each other's throats. Not at all. They need to know their parents can cooperate and get along peacefully.
2). Setting an example. Kids need to see us loving God, working hard, demonstrating good character, being responsible, and living right. This will show them how they should live. It is up to us to model to them proper behavior and healthy life skills.
3). Being honest when we fail. No, kids don't need the nitty gritty details of all our wrong choices. But when we let them down directly, it's best to admit it, take responsibility for the blunder, and apologize for it.
It seems to me that these three, practical steps will take each of us a long way in raising healthy children and succeeding in parenthood.
I may not be the "Best Dad Ever". And possibly you're not either. But, it sure is nice that many of us parents have kids who love us and believe in us anyway.
May God help us dads and moms be the best parents we can be.