17 April, 2024

No Perfect Parents . . . Just Real Ones

by | 1 July, 2023 | 1 comment

By Rudy Hagood 

We all know that parenting our kids is hard. Yet, I think we forget that when we were kids, we were just as hard on our parents!  

I want to speak with you parent-to-parent. Osharye and I are not perfect parents, and our kids are not perfect, and as much as it pains me to say it in print, our grandkids—even though they are perfect to us—are not perfect either. (Ouch, that last admission hurt!) So, let us find comfort in our perfect heavenly Father, who heals and covers our many imperfections! Paul wrote, “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being” (Ephesians 3:14-16). God, and God alone, is the perfect parent.  

No one could have prepared me for the lifelong grind that is parenting. No matter how old our kids are or how successful they are, they continue to need us. As parents, our heart and hope never end for them to own their faith and to grow into perpetually maturing contributors to both the kingdom and society. I’m exhausted just thinking about the parenting marathon.  

So, if there is an area that stretches, challenges, and pushes us to the point of waving a white flag regarding our faith, it’s got to be parenting. I think it’s because we care for our children so much and because we feel their pain and struggles as much as they do. But, as with a basketball coach, we can only call the play. We don’t get to actually shoot or pass the ball. It can be a hopeless feeling. We ride every victory with roaring cheers and sink low with every struggle, disappointment, and loss. Sometimes we suffer for them and they are not even aware of it, because they lack the perspective of our generation.  

And through all of this, we must figure out how to manage and coordinate our parenting with our spouse, who may have a completely different paradigm and perspective. In other cases, we may have to go it alone as a parent. So, I want to offer encouragement to all parents, both those parenting as a couple and those parenting alone.  

Parents, Do Your Best and Trust God with the Rest 

Parenting can be a faith struggle. You pray to God for your kids to make great decisions, and then they don’t. You pray they make positive, godly choices, and they don’t. You pray God will rescue them from a certain situation and consequence, but God allows them to experience it anyway. Faith is not the ability to change God’s will. Faith is the ability to trust God’s will.  

Solomon wrote, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6). As the father of 7 children and 10 grandchildren, I have witnessed God doing just that several times. So, I have learned to hold on to my faith by doing my best and trusting God with the rest. I have never been perfect, but God has always been perfect. We love our kids, and yes, we love our grandkids, but God has always loved them more.  

Singles, Give Your Children the Gift of Great Rhythms of Life 

If you are a parent who is going it alone or if you are co-parenting, you are my hero and deserve more support and accolades than the church gives you. You are doing vital work according to God’s calling to help raise up his children. I encourage you not to worry about giving your children everything in life. Instead, focus on giving them a great rhythm in life.  

Note: Married couples can’t give their kids everything either. During my years as a father, pastor, and social worker who helps all kinds of families, God has taught me the best thing we can give our kids is spiritual and emotional stability.  

This has inherent challenges for single parents, who often think they need to do everything and be everything. But that’s impossible. No one can do it . . . so don’t. (I know that’s an oversimplification, but it needed to be said.) Instead, focus on providing God’s children with consistency at home. And by home, I don’t mean a particular place as much as an environment and rhythm of life.  

My mom was a single mom, and we moved around a lot after my parents separated. She was my consistency. She was my rhythm of life. And, if possible, embrace the church as a part of that rhythm. Let the people of God participate in that rhythm in ways that are safe and supportive of your family’s life rhythms. 

Couples, Give Your Children the Gift of a Great Marriage 

As I’ve already said, the best thing we can give our kids is spiritual and emotional stability. An unstable and unhealthy marriage undermines all efforts at emotional and spiritual stability within the home. So, let’s give our kids the gift of a great marriage (which we described at length in our July/August 2022 column, “Very Married: The Gift to the Divine Gift”).  

The key building block to a great marriage is a godly commitment to your spouse. A beautiful, God-fearing, healthy marriage will serve as a model for your children when they are blessed with their own divine gifts (their children). All-in together, my friends, let’s be very married.  

And in all of this remember, there are no perfect parents, just real ones. 

Rudy Hagood

Rudy Hagood serves as lead pastor with University Christian Church in Los Angeles. He is married to the lovely and dynamic Osharye Hagood. He is a graduate of Hope International University and Southwestern Christian College.

1 Comment

  1. Nic D

    Well said pastor Rudy!

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Columns

Follow Us