Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Became Parents
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13, NASB). That’s a familiar and encouraging Bible verse for many of us.
What if we substitute the word “parent” into the verse? “I can parent through Him who strengthens me.” That’s not too big of a stretch considering that the Apostle Paul said “all things”! God reminded me of this verse after a recent exhausting dinner outing with our three children.
Some might say, “Shouldn’t a dinner outing be fun and relaxing?” Yes, but that’s not necessarily realistic when you have young children. Why? Because you have to get them into the restaurant, get them seated, and order their food. Next, because young children don’t often sit perfectly still and quiet, you must keep them occupied while waiting. When your food comes, you get your children’s food ready for them and then finally start to eat your own food only to hear one of them say, “I’ve got to go to the bathroom.”
By the time you return to the table, your other children have finished their food and are now playing around the table. They aren’t bothering anyone or hurting anything, so you eat. They get a little louder than you prefer. You remind them of the rules. You return to your meal. They act up a bit. You repeat what you just said a few minutes before. And, after a few rounds of this, you know “It’s time to go!”
I could go on, but you get my point—parenting takes more time, energy and patience than I knew before I became a parent. And, yet, I wouldn’t change a thing! Tiring as parenting can be, my children bring me great joy. In fact, I also now know that I love my children more than I ever knew I could before I became a parent.
Dr. Gary Chapman and I talk further about the many joys and challenges of parenting in our book Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Became Parents (Northfield Publishing, 2016). We believe this book will be a big help for parents-to-be and new parents.
Dr. Shannon Warden often writes about parenting in her blog, Hope to Build On. Visit www.shannonwarden.com for more information.