Ephesians 4:1b-6 (NIV)One of the great benefits of writing these blog posts is not just the regimen of reading different scripture passages each day, but the way I know feel more accountable to be the kind of parent I want to be. The more I write about my evolving parenting philosophy and how that philosophy is informed by scripture, the more I feel pressure — in a good way — to consistently live up to the standard I claim to pursue.
I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
For eight years now I’ve been blessed to have my wife with me in this parenting adventure. From day one, I have always looked to her for parenting advice and approval. Maybe it’s because she’s the mother (and mothers have intuition, right?), maybe it’s because she was almost 13 when her brother was born, or maybe it’s because I generally find deferral to be a good strategy for a happy partnership. But even though we both became parents at the exact same moment, I’ve always considered her to be the authority on nearly every issue and rely on her, happily, as the team captain.
All of which is a nice, long-winded say of saying she’s pretty good at calling me on my bull. So it’s pretty hard for me to be dishonest or disingenuous in my writing, be it for newspaper columns or blogging or even a Facebook status. I might be able to put a nice spin on something, but I’m never going to slip anything by her. She knows me better than anyone, which is a leading reason I wanted to marry her.
But truth be told, the blog project is an exercise in me exploring things on a personal level. I’m not sure if she’s reading every post — she does have three children and is getting a home-based business off the ground, after all — but if she is she’s probably come across some things I hadn’t discussed with her before crafting a post. So if I write about planning to do something or change my behavior, and then I very clearly don’t, I can rely on her holding me accountable.
Of course, all I should need to keep me accountable is regular prayer — talking with God. But sadly it’s far to easy to (pretend to) hide things from God. And while I know you can’t really hide anything from God, you also can’t hide anything from your wife, and she is physically in the house with me. I never have to wonder if I’m hearing the voice of Kristie.
Yet the larger point is that writing these things out — or even thinking about them at all, rather than just shuffling along trying to be a generally good guy — is forcing me to examine myself to determine if I really am what I say I am, or more accurately, if I really am trying to be what I say I want to become. So when I come across a wonderful passage tonight, it feels like Paul is speaking directly to me. His words not only give me a road map for values I want my kids to embrace, but also for values I must first embrace and model for them. And for my wife, who thankfully lets me know when I fall short.
A prayer for May 23:
Lord, I am trying to live a life worthy of my calling as a parent. I strive to be humble and gentle, to be patient and to bear with my wife and children in love. Yet time and again, I fail miserably at every turn. I am ever grateful that you will not give up on me and I intend to repay that graciousness with an even stronger effort to live according to your will, rather than my own. God you are over all and through all and in all, and I pray that my heart and mind be continually opened to that influence through every step today, tomorrow and forever. Amen.