Dedicated

25 Jan

Alright everybody, buckle up. Here is a groundbreaking statement that I have never, ever said before: As parents we often have zero clue what we are doing.
Wait — I say that all the time don’t I? But it is so true. We constantly dance a fine line between over-bearing or lax and between too detrimental or too nurturing.  At the end of the day you just want to look back and feel comfortable that for that day you made more “correct” decisions than questionable ones.

This past weekend we had the opportunity to act on one decision that we feel will have ever-lasting benefits for our child. We had the privilege to dedicate Nolan at our church! With many of our closest family members standing beside us, we promised to do our part to instill biblical values and morals in our son and push him to know and love both God and others. It was a fantastic event and something that will be a great memory for both the Mrs and I for many years. The charge to raise your child in a Godly manner is not an easy task. It is hard enough to keep ourselves in line, let alone be the Christ-like role model and advisor for Nolan. But we’re up for it and with our family’s help I know we can succeed.

Here’s the simple truth though — it doesn’t require a formal event to dedicate your child to be raised in a Godly home. And just because we went through such an event doesn’t mean it will be smooth sailing for the next 18+ years. No, no, no. We’re in for the biggest fight our of lives and many of you are sailing the same seas beside us. Raising children is not an easy task (duh), but to try and instill values in them that aren’t always the easiest to understand or most accepted by peers just ratchets up the challenge. Dedication is simply defined as a commitment to a task. By going through this dedication all we have done so far is said “We’re making a commitment to this incredibly difficult task”. There is nothing magical here, just simple devotion to achieving a result. We made a plan, we set goals, and now we will work our hardest to reach them!

One of most helpful notes I took from the short message our pastor gave yesterday — while we were all trying to keep the children from mutilating the cupcakes — was the reminder that there is no such thing as a perfect parent. I couldn’t agree more. I have never looked back at my parenting skills and said ‘Joel. You da man! You are God’s gift to parenting!”. No… far more often I look back in border-line remorse as I wish I could have taken advantage of more opportunities to spend time with Nolan, to teach him something, or just handled a situation differently. But that is ok because I know I am not perfect. The greatest part about what Josie and I have promised to do for Nolan is that we don’t have to be perfect. Perfection comes only from God and his never-ending, unexplainable, all-encompassing love that He has for us and for Nolan.

I’ll leave you with one quick passage, another takeaway from yesterday’s ceremony, and a favorite of mine from Deuteronomy where Moses is transferring on to God’s people some commandments specifically about raising children. It has been inspiring to me as we have started on this journey and something I took to heart:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:5-9)

Normally I try not to get too deep into my personal beliefs because that is not what this blog is about. But today.. it kind of is. This is all about being a parent and doing what you feel is the very best for your child and that is exactly what we were able to do this weekend. My intention with writing about this is not to push you or shame you into doing things the same way we did. My intention actually is to get you thinking about what you are dedicated to in raising your child. What are your hopes, goals, and dreams for your child? I’ve laid ours out pretty simply and now I feel there is some accountability to see it through. It’s not that we weren’t before but after this weekend there is no doubt: We’re dedicated!

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