I can only hope that God will alter my children's memories so they forget my failures.
Parenting is overwhelming and confusing. The doctor hands you the baby and suddenly your life becomes unrecognizable. Soon thereafter, you cannot remember your previous life. It's like reincarnation - but not.
There are some people who are natural parents. They are patient, kind, and wise. Us normal people try to hide our resentment of these people.
Proverbs 22:6 tells us:
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
I have thought about this verse a lot since I became a dad in 2011. At face value, it seems contrary to reality, but the Bible is never contrary to reality. The Bible defines reality. So what about those kids who go astray? They sure seem to depart from the teaching of their parents.
I think the meaning of this verse is twofold:
1. Parenting is important. How we train our kids matters and in all likelihood, our guidance will eventually sink in. It is a long game. It is worth the effort and with God's help, it usually works.
2. Most importantly, I believe this verse hinges upon one word: love. If you love your kids with all you have, they will not depart from your love - they can't. If you share the love of Christ with them, they will have a love that death couldn't move. Kids can depart from guidance, but love - that's sticky.
When all else fails, we should love our kids. When we aren't sure about the best way to teach them about Jesus, we should emulate his love as a starting point. It will form a foundation from which they can begin to understand God's grace.
Oh yeah - and that love we're talking about? That love that transcends death? That love - the love of Christ - is the same love that we need when we fail as parents.