Parenting isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s also not a one-person job.
It’s amazing how significant the epidemic of single parenthood has gotten over the last few decades. In fact, figures from the Kids Count Data Center, a Project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, suggests that nearly 25 million children live in a family with only a mom or a dad.
Do you know what’s worse than a home without both parents present? How about a house where both parents live, but only one is involved with the kids?
The Pew Research Center suggests that both the number of hours fathers spend doing housework and helping take care of their children has increased significantly over the past 50 years. However, their study also reveals that only 57% of dads say parenting is extremely important to their identity.
We Can Do Better
Come on, guys. You can do better. But hold on—not so fast, moms. The same study cites only one percent more of mothers say parenting is an essential part of who they are.
Now, who knows how accurate the data is—hopefully, people of faith would skew things the other way if only they were part of the study. Perhaps the survey group didn’t provide a good sample. Maybe the parents who took it had just pulled a babydoll head out of the toilet when they answered the questions.
The scary part of the survey is to think that only a little more than one out of two parents view raising their kids as a critical element of what they feel they’ve been placed on the earth to do. Is it any wonder kids find themselves in crisis, schools are becoming more violent, and people, in general, are becoming more dependent on others to help sustain them in life?
News flash: your kids are the most important job you have as a couple. More than the paycheck you bring home or how well you feed and clothe them, you have the responsibility of ensuring they turn out to be solid people.
It’s Time to Get in The Game
If both husband and wife aren’t fully involved in the lives God gave them permission to create, they’re going to miss out on important moral, ethical, and spiritual lessons each of them are best suited to teach. Not to mention showing their kids how to tie their shoe or drive a nail.
There’s an old scripture that encourages parents to train a child in the way they should go, and when they get older, they won’t forget it (Proverbs 22:6). What we invest in our children sticks with them. Further, the Good Book teaches that one of the primary reasons God created marriage was to bring future generations into the world who would grow up to be honorable people who saw Him as the North Star of their lives.
Ask yourself: how’s it going in the parenting department? Are you leaving the heavy lifting to your spouse? Do you come home from work and shift onto easy street while your spouse works to meet the kids’ physical, emotional, and spiritual needs?
If so, that’s a shame.
Take the First Steps
Maybe you don’t know where to start. How about with the simple question to your spouse, How can I help you?” From there, reach out to your kids. Ask how their school day went or say, “Hey, come help me take out the trash. I want to show you how to do this so you can start helping out.”
Read a book. Take a class. Have a conversation with someone you see as a good parent. They can point you in the right direction and give you advice. Their suggestions will most likely come from mistakes they made—mistakes you can avoid if you just put the time and energy into being there for your kids.
Don’t misunderstand. Parenting isn’t just a bed of roses—by any stretch. Even if it were, they still have thorns. But for all the challenges and heartaches it can bring, parenting is the most rewarding job you can have.