There Are No Perfect Families But We Can All Be Better
I spent Christmas and New Year in Ghana, West Africa, my birth country. It was a wonderful time. My heart brimmed with joy and gratitude as I looked around at my extended family. I marveled at the hope and laughter that held us together. There were no perfect families here. We all had our issues but we were still bound together by love. Even in the Bible, there were no perfect families. We have a perfect God, who sees our imperfections and those of our family and loves us anyway.
It’s good for parents to realize that their children are not perfect and never will be. They must still decide to love them anyway. How can we hold our not so perfect families together, and thrive in spite of all the imperfections?
1. Become a praying family
If possible, pray with your teens. If they will not pray with you, then pray for them. I recently watched a clip on YouTube in which Steve Harvey was talking about his new found faith and how he wished his mom could see him today. His mom prayed for him and her prayers were answered. Pray for your teens and let them soar ahead and do great things. As hard as it is to let them go, pray and believe enough in your prayer to let them go. You see, prayer accomplishes things that we can’t always accomplish.
2. Become encouraging parents
One of the first words our kids learn as they start speaking is the word, “No.” We say that word in all its various forms all the time. This year, become an encourager. We parents, should not allow our own fear to get in the way of our children’s dreams. Encourage your teens to stretch themselves and excel. As we discussed last week, encourage them to write down their goals and aim for the skies. Yes, they may fail sometimes, but if your children never fail then perhaps they are not stretching themselves enough. Encourage them to bring out the best in them.
3. Recognize Achievement
Learn to say “Well done.” Parents are quick to criticize their children when they do something wrong. However their achievements are seen as just the norm. That was what was expected of them anyway. Take the time to say well done to your teens. Recognize the effort that they put in, even if they are not necessarily the best. That encourages them to continue to persist even if the going gets tough. Now, you don’t have to gush all over them and give empty praise. Teens know when you are not being sincere, but they love and thrive with genuine well deserved praise. By the way, our spouses also love it when we notice them and recognize the effort they make in the relationship. They also would love a pat on the back now and then.
4. Learn to forgive
Nobody, least of all our teens, wants to hear the phrase “I told you so.” I must admit I’ve done that in the past and I’ve been met with such disapproving looks from my kids, and the phrase, “Mom, parents are not supposed to do that.” Do you really think your teens don’t know when they’ve disappointed you, or gone against you and are facing the consequences of their actions? Be big enough to let it go and instead help them pick up the pieces and keep moving forward. After all, there are no perfect families, and no perfect parents. If we are honest with ourselves, we know that we have also made plenty of mistakes in our day. Help your teens learn from their mistakes, and develop strength and coping skills that will serve them well in future. Forgive them when they fail and prepare them to face the challenges that will invariably come.
As the year rapidly gets underway, realize that there are no perfect families. Instead, become a hope-filled and successful family. Pray for your family and encourage your teens as they step into the world and become responsible young adults. Help your teens learn from their mistakes. Use their failures as an opportunity to teach them to seek the silver lining that is present in most of the clouds that come their way. Teach them coping skills and help them thrive no matter the circumstances they face. Applaud their achievements and learn to forgive them when they offend you.
No family is perfect… we argue, we fight. We even stop talking to each other at times. But in the end, family is family… The love will always be there. ~ Unknown