Living without Parenting Regrets

Living without Parenting Regrets

Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.
—Psalm 127:3

Years ago, I was writing a sermon about parenting. That evening I was determined to make memories with my children whether it killed us or not. So I walked into the living room, where my daughters—then ages five and nine—were sitting on the sofa, watching a sitcom. The scene went like this: “Hi, girls, what are you doing?” “Nothing.” I clicked off the television. “Dad, we were watching our favorite program!” “We have been watching too much television. Why don’t we play Monopoly or Scrabble?” “We only like checkers.” “Fine, let’s play checkers.” “Dad, we don’t have a checkerboard.” “All right, let’s go outside and knock some tennis balls around.” Overhearing our plans, my wife, Amy, protested because the girls were already bathed and ready for bed. But I was determined to play with the kids. I had the girls put on their matching slippers and coats over their pajamas. Once outside, we started hitting tennis balls and it began to rain. “Dad, it’s raining.” “Rain won’t hurt you. This is an evening you will always remember: playing tennis outside with your dad in your pajamas while it rains.” My daughters began to cry. Finally, I let them go back inside. The next morning my younger daughter had a cough that rattled the windows, my older daughter was still mad about missing her show, and Amy was furious over the sick child and soiled slippers. Maybe you have had a similarly frustrating parenting experience. My motive was pure—trying to create memories with my kids—but my method was severely flawed.

The fact is, all of us want to succeed as parents. And we want to avoid regrets about what we did or did not do with our children. You know, it is possible to come to the end of our parenting years having done the very best we could and yet still have regrets over what we did or what we failed to do with our children.

If you find that difficult to believe, consider the Old Testament story of Eli. Eli was a faithful priest, but he was a lousy father. Even though he devoted himself to God’s work and taking care of the spiritual needs of Israel, in the process he lost his two sons. The story of Eli reminds us that the road to parental failure is paved with good intentions.

So far this year we have been learning how to live without regrets. And one of the top regrets people have is the failure to give attention to the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of their children. So this week we will talk about how to come to the end of your life without any regrets about parenting. The Bible offers hope for your children and grandchildren, regardless of their age. You can start today to live without parenting regrets.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Living without Parenting Regrets” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.