Parenting Advice, Humility, and Pastors’ Kids

The best thing I ever did in my parenting was not write a book about how people should parent.


Paul says that a pastor should have his kids in subjection. This means that pastors’ kids should basically be good kids.

As we all know, pastors’ kids have had a bad reputation in the past. This could be for any number of reasons. Leading the list of reasons is that no one uses Paul’s qualifications for pastors as an actual basis for hiring pastors.

When my wife and I had our first kid I immediately laid down the law that if our kids go nuts, I will resign from being a pastor. My wife, God bless her, immediately began praying that one of our kids would go nuts.

Unfortunately for us, none of them have and I remain a pastor.

This is said somewhat in jest. Somewhat. My wife also had a fear that she would give birth to the antichrist (someone has to do it), so in that way, we’re doing pretty well.

Everyone has suggestions about how kids should be raised. I chuckle at those who don’t have kids giving parenting advice. I had one guy who had no kids but did work with horses, tell me some horse training tips to use on my kids. No thanks.

Frequently in the church you will hear people brag about their kids and follow it up with the steps they took to bring about this awesomeness in their kids. This is typically done when the kids are young, or perhaps an older kid has gone off to college and they have a couple at home yet. The first one turned out pretty well, so they begin advising others, only to have some of their younger ones go nuts on them.

I hate to chuckle at the perils of others, but it’s hard not to. It’s especially hard to chuckle at a young person going nuts. It is sad, I’m not laughing at them though. I’m just enjoying a heaping serving of parental know-it-all irony.

As of this writing, my kids are doing OK. I can see trouble in each of their personalities, things they better work on and keep an eye out for. As of today, I am quite pleased with my children.

But I will not brag about them, their accomplishments, and I will fall way short of taking full credit for the whole thing, at least out loud.

“I wish all of you could have the happy life I have with my happy family” was said by someone in a testimony at church once. Not long after, the entire family imploded.

It happens so many times, what makes people keep doing that? Have we forgotten human nature? Are we unaware of blind spots? Are we unaware of rose colored glasses?

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch, and don’t count successful raising of adults while your kids are in junior high.

One mother I know wrote a book about marriage and parenting while her kids were still quite young. It was self-published (of course. Always watch out for self-published parenting advice) and she promoted it heavily, doing “Bible studies” about her book.

All I’ll say is: Yeah, kids. Wow. They have a way of making you eat your words.

I have no idea how my kids will turn out. When they were in my house I had them in subjection. Now that they are moving out on their own, we will see how much of that was me and how much was them. They make their own decisions. I can’t believe for them. I can run them through The Prayer and dunk them in water hundreds of times and it still might not be them. I can’t guarantee my kids’ eternity, which is why I don’t tell anyone that I can.

Kids are tough. Stop acting like you know what you’re doing. Don’t brag about your kids and your hot wife. No one cares. Shut up. If you don’t shut up, life has a way of making you regret everything you say.



Pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall.
 It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor
than to divide the spoil with the proud.
–Proverbs 16:18-19

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