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.
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 [amazon_link id=”B00ETGLPHI” target=”_blank” ]Grace-Based Parenting[/amazon_link] 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.
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.
[amazon_image id=”B00ETGLPHI” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Grace-Based Parenting[/amazon_image]