Growing Kids With Character

Day 1 of 4 • This day’s reading


Let’s be honest. I’ll go first and admit that I underestimated the importance of emotional readiness for parenting. I was prepared in every other respect. And being prepared for parenthood turned out to be more than having a stroller and a car seat or savings for your unborn child’s education. The digital camera’s batteries may be recharged and a large memory chip may be inserted for the 1,001 pictures of the birth and newborn days, but even then, a parent’s heart might not be ready to give what is most needed.

Readiness starts with basic maturity—the mind-set of no longer living only for yourself and your own needs but for someone else as well. Readiness for parenting also means that you start thinking about what you will invest in your children. It’s about an eternal legacy, because they will probably outlive you!

To make a baby is one of the actions for which you need the least skills. It takes almost no experience, talent or expertise. Even people who can’t throw a Frisbee, switch on the video machine or keep a job can make a baby.

Erma Bombeck, Motherhood, the Second Oldest Profession

Readiness also reflects a softened heart that is ready to learn about love and to receive help in the process. It is a mind-set that acknowledges, “I am not the whole story when it comes to parenting. God, other parents, life, friends, and influences will parent with me. I will deserve neither all the blame nor all the glory. I will be stretched in the process.”

How can we better prepare ourselves for parenting? Reading books and attending a clinic or parenting talks will help, but we also need to sort out some deeper things in ourselves. Keep these three principles in mind:

  1. We need shaping just as much as our children need it.

  2. Our past ought to make way for a new plan.

  3. We can emulate God as the Great Gardener.

During the rest of this reading plan we’ll spend time looking at the third principle and discuss how we can emulate God as the Great Gardner in three aspects of parenting – presence, priorities, and purpose.

Ask yourself: 

What is one parenting challenge that you weren’t emotionally ready for when it came?