Top 5 Reasons I Suck At Parenting: and what to do about it.

The Tall Order:

Here at HolyOatmeal.com I am trying to get a hold of some ideas, thoughts, resources etc. which we can all benefit from.  Things which will frankly help us to help our kids really want to follow Jesus all the days of their lives.

That’s quite a tall order, but it seems like an essential one. In fact, while some parents are signing their kids up to advanced schooling programs, private sports leagues, expensive tutoring, etc. and all before the age of 6, I’m just hoping my kids don’t end up on some clock tower one day with a long range rifle (unless of course they are participating in some new Olympic sport).  I happen to believe THE thing is to point my kids as much as possible back to God.  I want them to see the relevance of the Bible, the church and Christ, not just so they can be pastors one day, but so they can have a life filled with the good things which come from living rightly.

Now I know not all of you reading this are Christians but I know we share a common vision of hoping for the best for our kids.  I know we all can agree that we want to foster an environment at home where our kids feel safe, good about themselves, confident, and inspired to help their fellow man.   These are good common goals to have.  So, why do I suck at trying to reach these goals?  Here are my top 5 reasons

Reason 1: It turns out I’m really pretty selfish: I’m not a big fan of having to do what is uncomfortable.  I have found that when I’m laying down on the couch I don’t really want to get up to help with the kids, or to put away the dishes, or to answer the door or to go to the bathroom.  The big surprise is being a stellar parent requires unselfishness.  Dern.  I was actually having multiple kids so I could have more free employees around the house-unfortunately it turns out it takes several years before the kids are actually that helpful.

Reason 2: I find listening to children quite a chore: I don’t know if you are aware of this, but kids can do some annoying things.  Have you ever had a 4 year old trying to tell you a “quick” story?  Man! It can take forever.  I once had to sit through what seemed like half an hour of “Hey dad.  Hey dad. Did you know that….Hey dad, hey dad. Did you know that the one guy at the thing….Hey dad….”
I have actually developed quite a skill at listening to talk radio in the car while my kid is telling me all the unknown secrets of Star Wars.  I am able to offer up strategically placed, “uh huh.” “that’s nice.” “yeah, that was funny when Padme did that.” while still catching up on the latest political firestorms.

Reason 3: It’s the little things which bother me the most: I can’t stand the fighting, the mess, the ruined (fill in the blank) the getting up out of bed 15 times, the spills, the toys left outside, the massive amounts of laundry, the cereal all over the floor, the bathrooms that look like a tornado came through, the broken windows, the table that snapped in two, the lack of wiling babysitter, the inability to go see a movie I want to see anymore….

Reason 4: I am a small angry man: Nothing quite like starting family devotions only to end up yelling at everybody to shut up and sit down because we’re going to spend some time with Jesus.  I can assure you my kids are all going to heaven because I scared the Hell right out of them.  Our family devotions have crumbled into  a combo of Bible verses and idle threats.  It doesn’t take long to go from Spiritual idealism to flesh driven frustration.

Reason 5: I don’t know what the heck I’m doing: You would think after 6 kids I would have a clue.  But it seems like each kid only shines more light on how unaware I really am.  I just figured out they all have different personalities (and different names too). None of them respond to my parenting the same.  I’m pretty sure half of them are plotting against me most of the time.  My dreams of wearing a nice sweater vest, smoking a pipe and handing out fatherly advice seems all but gone – although I have considered taking up smoking several times, but not a pipe.

What to do about it: While this post just might be a bit of hyperbole, it’s definitely easy to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, tired, unprepared and lazy at times.  Sometime I just don’t want to parent.  I want to check out and run away.  What do I do in times like this?  1. Visit Walmart- always helps give me a fresh new perspective on how great of a parent I really am.  2. Chill out and take a walk.  If I’m frustrated and the kids are pushing my limits it’s OK to get some fresh air and clear my head and pray.  3.  Begin to thank God out loud.  A lot of frustration comes from an ungrateful heart.  Often I need to begin to speak thanksgiving for all the blessings we have as a family. 4.  Learn to enjoy my family.  Instead of trying to institute some stodgy religious exercises we need to celebrate God’s goodness. I need to let the kids dance, shout, move, sing, laugh as worship to God.  We aren’t running a seminary but a family who loves Jesus with our whole being.

I may suck at parenting but…I have a heavenly Father who loves me a whole bunch and has been modeling how I need to express my love to my kids.  This is radical love that goes way out of it’s own way to get a hold of those around it and make them feel special.  Life is not about a perfect bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, backyard, but about a perfect God loving some pretty imperfect people because he wants to.  Maybe I can start doing the same.  : )

Being A Dad Is So Much Fun!

At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

I am kidding.  I really do love being a dad.  It is one of those true blessings in life.  One of my goals for the upcoming year is to slow down enough so I don’t miss out on the things which really matter.  I don’t want to be so grumpy with my kids.  I don’t want to be so busy doing my stuff I forget what of mine truly has value.

Families are a blessing from the Lord.  Am I living like they are a blessing?  Do I rejoice with those who rejoice?  When my kids discover something new and exciting to them do I celebrate with them?  Do I mourn with those who mourn?  When my kids lose it do I empathize or simply communicate irritation?

God help me to love them like you have loved me.  Help me to be the kind of Father you are to me.

Students Revolt!

As homeschoolers of 3 of our 6 kids, we don’t have the usual school presentations throughout the year. We team up with other like minded parents through group classes and co-ops to give our kids a chance to prove how much better they are than the other children…I mean share in a wonderful experience of mutual love and fun.

Tonight was “Speech” night. We had an array of funny, serious, persuasive and silly speeches presented from little tikes up to kids 13 years old or so . There was some of what you might expect from a homeschool group, “The Joy’s of Carrying a Loaded Pistol” (or something like that), “How to can your own home grown peaches”; and of course there was the one speech given entirely in Latin-it was hilarious!
My daughter gave a speech which was an excerpt from “Stories From Wayside School” about an awful teacher who turns her students into apples. She looks for reasons to turn the kids into apples; if they sneeze, cheat, laugh, cry, run away, get scared. It doesn’t matter. Whatever the reason those kids are destined for the apple cart. By the middle of the story, all the kids had turned into apples one by one.
But the apples revolt! (Interesting how the apples are red and they form a revolution) I knew all this reading was Communistic propaganda! I guess me and the Mrs are going to have a little discussion about hosting another homeschool co-op book burning club. That’ll teach those books whose boss.
But I digress…. The Red Apples revolt and demand to be turned back into children. When the teacher finally complies she tries her trickery again only to become a victim of her own wickedness when one of the more vain students pulls out her mirror and deflects the curse back onto the teacher.
Completely stunned and not knowing quite what to do with their new apple-teacher (a metaphor for Macintosh computers I’m sure) they are speechless when a fellow teacher walks in, not thinking his colleague would mind sharing and proceeds to eat the apple/teacher.
What made this speech so good, was my daughter didn’t know she was giving a humorous speech. She thought it was a current events speech. Controlling the flow of knowledge is a powerful thing and keeps her appreciating homeschool all the more.
Parenting: who would’ve thunk?

Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk -DAD!

The cliche’ is a nice reminder that stuff  happens in life and it is not worth getting too upset about simple mistakes.  I am so quick to tell my kids they are overreacting when they freak out about something so small and seemingly stupid.  I realized though when one of my kids did spill some milk I huffed and puffed, rolled my eyes, said their name in a long drawn out sigh and basically tried to make them feel as stupid as possible.  Why?  Because the spilled milk was going to inconvenience me.

Advice to self-if I am trying to teach my kids not to stress the small stuff, then I have to stop stressing the small stuff.

New Song: Colossians 3:12-13

Here is the latest Scripture Song a message about forgiveness. (Lyrics Below) Click HERE to download Chord Chart

Colossians 3:12-13

Col 3:12-13
Music by Matthew Casteel Words from NIV

Verse 1
Therefore as God’s chosen people
Holy and dearly loved
Clothe yourselves with compassion
Kindness humility
Gentleness and patience

Chorus:
Bear with each other and forgive
Whatever grievances you may have
Against one another

Tag
Forgive as the Lord forgave you
Forgive as the Lord forgave you
Forgive as the Lord forgave you
Forgive as the Lord forgave you