Does our Parenting Reflect our Leadership?

September 29, 2014

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I was shocked with a revelation the other day.

Many of the things I do to my children, I would never dream of doing in my leadership.

Parenting and leadership have many similarities even though the tools are applied in radically different ways.

Most people would describe me as a gracious, releasing, and encouraging leader. I give people the freedom to make mistakes and do not micro manage.

If I look at my parenting, I can tend to be:
– Critical rather than gracious.
– Controlling rather than releasing.
– Speaking about areas of growth far more than encouraging.
– Attempting to prevent mistakes my children might make.
– Micro-manage their lives rather than allowing them to “make a mess.”

I know parenting is very different than leading adults, but I was shocked when I looked at my “leadership” through this lens.

by Patrik Goethe

by Patrik Goethe

I’ve been on a long journey of God talking to me about my parenting. It’s actually getting close to two years. (I change VERY slowly!)

I’ve read a lot on the topic recently. The book which stands head and shoulders above the rest is Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel.

Let me share some of my favorite quotes and thoughts:

(Parenting is…) “Coming alongside them with a plan to leverage their natural and unique gifts and skills into highly developed assets that they can lean on in the future.”

“Grace based parenting works from the inside out, fear based parenting from the outside in.”

My favorite part was his list and further chapters centered around 4 things grace based homes give their children.

They are:
1. Freedom to be Different.
2. Freedom to be Vulnerable.
3. Freedom to be Candid.
4. Freedom to Make Mistakes.

Without these freedoms, we will attempt to make our children into mini versions of ourselves (complete with the same dysfunctions.) Its hard enough to live with ourselves, let alone mini versions!

We need to provide openness for our kids to express frustration, disappointment, or even question things like God and faith. They will do these anyway, but we can provide a safe place to talk about them. I tend to quash any complaining or frustration, telling them to “watch their attitude.” This removes both candor and vulnerability.

The freedom to make mistakes is huge. We need this from God personally as well as modeling it in the context of being parents. Good leaders allow their people to do this to certain degrees, why wouldn’t we as parents.

Walking this out as a parent may be the hardest arena. In simple things from spilled milk or making a mess to wasting money on a frivolous purpose. All of these are small compared to the mistakes they will make morally and sinfully to varying degrees. There is no formula for how to walk these out.

A lack of these freedoms is far more devastating than the awkwardness of attempting to figure these out day in and day out.

I highly recommend Grace Base Parenting – as a book but more than that, a practice.

I for one, want my parenting to bear a closer resemblance to my leadership. If I can say, “I would never lead this way”. then maybe I should not parent that way. 

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Chris

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God

2 responses to Does our Parenting Reflect our Leadership?

  1. Maria Sacapano-Smith September 30, 2014 at 01:05

    Hi Chris, I am new to your site as I followed your link from a friend’s facebook page- What caught my eye is the word SUPERHERO – aa ha – I am surrounded by boys – so superheroes are big in my house. Just a bit of insight from a child’s point of view of the the word “Freedom” in relating to making mistakes – My boys are awesome and yet they are boys with tons of energy and therefore mistakes in my house are made daily if not hourly – a House of Grace and Mercy is what we strive to have in our home. Getting back to a child’s point of view of Freedom to make mistakes – they read this statement on your blog and immediately – THOUGHT, “WHAT – we can make mistakes! – THAT doesn’t seem right mom, what does he mean?” So carefully rephrasing that statement, I said I believe the author meant – Making mistakes is something we all do because we are born with a sin nature – so that when you make a mistake or your brother makes a mistake, we, as children of God and as New a creation in Christ Jesus, are able to forgive each other and ask forgiveness from and for mistakes. – so really it isn’t Freedom to do wrong(mistakes) but actually Freedom to forgive the wrong or mistake made. – You see sir, my boys know they make mistakes but they know they have been liberated to do good and forgive and receive forgiveness as well. If you told my boys, hey, it’s okay to make mistakes without the ground rules, then it becomes chaos – believe me, having 5 boys allows me to see God’s love and grace for me. I have not read the book Grace Based Parenting and so of course I don’t if the author already included the basis for having Freedom. Freedom in Christ Jesus our Lord is so precious – I thank you so much for being an example of a parent that allows for grace and mercy within his own home as well as in leadership. God be with you – and Hey – GRACE and peace be with your family as well!!

  2. Maria, Thank you so much for taking the time to write. You are correct in your interpretation of my comments and the excerpt from Grace Based Parenting. The freedom is in not having to be perfect. We don’t want ever want to encourage disobedience or sin, but still have the relationship that when it does inevitably happen, there is the openness to talk about it. A great way to do this is to be real in appropriate ways with our own struggles. Thanks for stopping and I hope you come often!