The Discipline of Parenthood

One of my favorite words spoken from a parent to child happens at the baptism of Jesus. Scripture tells us that when Jesus came up from the water “a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased’” (Mark 1:11). Think about it, are there any greater words that a father can speak to a son, or a parent can speak to child?

The truth is that I typically do a good job with speaking positive and kind and gentle and loving words into the lives of my two children. In fact, I call my son Captain Awesome for no other reason than the fact that he is Captain Awesome. And my daughter, I call Sunshine because she brightens up every day. Some of you might say, “Yep that is being a good parent. That’s what a good parent does.” Now, if there is an aspect of parenting that most would call good and be in the category of “do”, then there must be a part of parenting that would be in the “don’t” category.

Now, as hard as I always try to do what is best for my children, there are times that I come up short of being the father that God has called me to be. In other words, there a times when my parenting falls in the “parenting don’t” category. Maybe it’s the pressures of life that distract me, or the fact that I just had to repeat myself for the tenth time for toys to be picked up. Perhaps, I’m not getting enough sleep or spending enough time with my children. Maybe I care too much what others think of me as a parent or my expectations of my children are too high. Maybe it is the desire to be in control or maybe, just maybe, I have not been spending the time with God that I need to.

Whatever the case, there are moments when irritability (a parenting don’t) is my response as a parent instead of kindness or positivity or grace. When this happens, I am quick to apologize for my behavior. This often goes like, “I’m sorry that I wasn’t very patient.” To which my son responds, “Daddy, you should show me more grace.”

It is in these moments, when I have responded with irritability that I have to remind myself that as a father I must submit myself to Christ and allow Him to turn my heart toward my children and respond to them with the words, “you are my beloved child; with you I am well pleased!”

This week, list some of the attributes of our Heavenly Father as described in the Bible. Which of these do you need to emulate in your own life as a parent?

~ Tim Hall (I encourage feedback, questions & comments - email me at