Can we be real for a moment? I mean really real? Here are a few questions: Are you a hypocrite? Are you a hero? Are you maybe a bit of both in the eyes of your kids? If I am being honest, there are times I would like to hide away in a secret room, lock the door, throw away the key, and not tell a soul where I went. I think we have all had moments like this. We talk a great deal about desiring transparent relationships with those in The Body, and to be held accountable on this journey of sanctification, but it’s so much easier to withdraw and not put ourselves out there. Why is that? I think, in part, it is because there is an underlying fear of what others will see if they peel back the layers. How sad. How damaging. And, if we are not careful, this type of sheltering and shutting ourselves off will create further hypocrisy in our children. Knowing how many see Christians as nothing more than hypocrites, there must be some things we can do to limit being seen as such in the eyes of our children. Right? After all, many of them will make up the next generation of believers, and we need to give them a very real picture of what it means to be a very real person—authentic, honest, broken, and redeemed.
1) Be honest about your imperfections. Kids (whether tiny or teens) already know—they just want to know if you know! By voicing your failures, they will feel more comfortable voicing theirs. Authenticity goes a long way toward creating a deeper desire for the Gospel.
2) Apologize for those failures and sins you voiced. Do not merely tell your kids you stink, but show them what genuine remorse looks like. There is an art to communicating well, and we can all up our game by giving and receiving forgiveness better.
3) Be willing to form friendships with weight. Relationships take time to develop, but if you are real on the front end, you will get to a place of substance much quicker, and believers of depth will walk right alongside you. Remember: Time spent with another does not equal depth. A person of depth, no matter how much time spent, equals depth.
There are too many parents thinking they are perfect, or if not thinking it, then sadly choosing to act like it for fear their children will not respect them as leaders or sincere Christians. Hiding behind the title of “mom” or “dad” does not automatically give special clout. Hiding in the shelter of Christ and what He means to you is what will free you and your children. Do not live in denial as a parent. Do spend time processing how your kids will see you. Will it be authentic and needing Jesus? Or will it culminate in saying you need Jesus while hiding behind the infamous (and not deceiving anyone) Sunday morning mask? We can be hypocrites, or we can be heroes.
You are a sinner in need of your Savior. So am I. So are our kids. The Church and her future need us to get real and give our kids the gift of being real, too. So unlock the door, and let people in who will walk alongside you and push you to be a better version of who God created you to be. Live in the light, and shine for all the world to see!
For His Glory,
Gabbie Nolen-Fratantoni loves Jesus and is passionate about serving him through the arts by leading worship and writing for various ministries. She is married to Greg, her hard-working, iron-sharpening-iron spouse. They are opposite in personality but equal in dedication to their marriage and family. Gabbie and Greg are the proud and sleep-deprived parents of two active, sweet, and fun boys and recently welcomed the arrival of their first little girl. An Aggie and graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, Gabbie is a small-town country girl trapped in the city and loves getting to know people and encouraging them as they seek to know Jesus and make him known.
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