Remember when the acronym WWJD got popular in the 1990s? What would Jesus do is a great question to ask in a myriad of situations: when you’re parking, and someone goes for the same spot you’re going for, when someone is rude, and you want to tell them a thing or two… but what about parenting? Have you ever looked at your kids and wondered… what would Jesus do?
My relationship with Jesus evolves as the days go by, and I’m extremely thankful to have a consistent source of strength as I walk through each day with my girls. Here’s how I think Jesus helps me most.
Jesus wasn’t nice, he was fair.
One day, my boss Scott Gunn said that Jesus wasn’t nice. I got to thinking about that, and realized he was right. Jesus was compassionate, forgiving, healing – Jesus was many things – but Jesus wasn’t afraid to bring the hammer down when necessary. He told the truth, no matter what. As a parent, I could choose to be the fun, nice parent. Or, I could choose to be like Jesus – which means the girls don’t always get what they want, or hear what they want to hear. As my mom used to say, “You ain’t too old for your wants to hurt you.”
Jesus cared deeply for his loved ones, especially his father.
Jesus loved his people. He was a living, breathing example of following the commandments, especially “Honor thy father and thy mother.” From the marriage at Cana, where Mary jump-started his ministry, to Jesus following God’s plan for him, he shows us again and again how to respect his parents, and that respect eventually grew to include all of us. Jesus loved everyone, especially those who by our standards don’t deserve that love.
There are moments as parents when we look at our kids and think… how did I get here? Who is this kid? But we love our children anyway. When you get to those moments – and if you haven’t yet, don’t worry, the teen years are coming – think about how much Jesus loved his people. Remember when his mother and brothers were waiting to see them, and he equated them to the people he was with? That’s love.
Jesus showed his emotions.
In a world where it’s not always okay for men to show emotions, we can learn from Jesus. Jesus got angry when people disrespected his father. He cried at the death of his friend. Jesus was afraid; he begged God to deliver him from his path, knowing it wasn’t possible. He was a passionate preacher. HE felt joy when spending time with his friends. We may feel that we have to keep our feelings and emotions close to the vest, or apologize when they become extreme. I believe that Jesus would encourage us to feel boldly. Apologies are necessary when anger turns to rage, but go ahead and let your kids see your feelings. It shows them that you’re not just Mom, you’re a person. Just like Jesus, you’re fully human.
Jesus took time away from people to get it together.
I know some parents who can make any excuse not to take a break. “My kids need me. They won’t listen to ____________. They won’t eat what _________________ will make. It’s easier if I just do it myself.” What would Jesus do? He would take a break! That’s what Jesus did when his tank got to E. He would retreat, pray, refuel, and return renewed. Why do we feel that we can’t do that? It doesn’t mean taking forty days in the desert, or a week in Hawaii. Although at least one of those options sounds great, rest and renewal can come in smaller doses. My way of renewing is by working from home on Mondays. That’s my day for renewal and recharging. And while there are plenty of Mondays that I have company at home, creating that space for myself has definitely made me a better parent.
Jesus’ impact on my parenting doesn’t end here. As our relationship grows and evolves, so do my skills as a parent.
How can you incorporate more Jesus into your parenting? What would Jesus say to you when you’re at a parenting crossroad? If you’re not sure, ask him. Create a space for meditating and talking with Jesus about parenting. Spend time with the Bible. Talk to other parents. Explore this blog for answers.
When faced with a tough parenting question, ask yourself: What would Jesus do?
How will you open yourself for the answers?