If you don’t want your kids to be prodigals,

ask Jesus to grow you as the chief confessor in the home, not the chief accuser, or the chief expert on all things Christian.  If you unwittingly give them the impression that you’ve got this Christian life down pat, you run the risk of them concluding they don’t have the spiritual genes you do, and following Jesus is just not for them, especially in adolescence and beyond.

What does it look like for a parent to be the chief confessor?  HUMBLE — not defensive, good listener, doesn’t need to be right, admits his/her failures in following Jesus and parenting.  Not humble ACTing, that is, humble on the outside. Humble on the INside. Unconditional love is the biggest need of your kid.  And when you fail?  CONFESS.  To your Savior and to your kid.

You as the parent are the weakest link to your kids’ spiritual growth — the one MOST needy of further overhaul/transformation by Jesus, no matter how much you’ve been overhauled to date.  It only seems to YOU that your kids are the ones most needy of overhaul by Jesus.  Keep your focus on YOUR failures, more than on your kids’ failures.  A chief confessor does not try to manage external behavior of their kids, but attempts to reach the conscience.  More sell, less tell.  Pulling rank is a means of last resort, and even then, best done with a gentle, humble love.  The conscience is reached by unconditional love and other-worldly humility.  Humanly impossible.  Only Jesus can make this happen in your life.  It’s painful being overhauled by Jesus, but good painful, healing painful.  Proud parents produce prodigal kids.  Not necessarily proud on the outside, but proud on the INside.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, voice of experience speaking in what NOT to do, as every one of his six kids were prodigals in adolescence, and he learned this stuff after all his kids were grown, and he still doesn’t practice what he preaches about humble love to all humans

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