"Every day I try my hardest to do my best by my three children and every evening I feel I have failed them and end up riddled with guilt."
"There’s way too much romanticising of parenthood in our society, leaving those who find it less than a Disney experience feeling abandoned"
Guilt about parenting, as described in this letter, is constantly increasing, fueled by social media reminding us of all the things we could, or should, be doing but aren’t. The advice given in response is valuable in many ways, not least in emphasising that the most valuable thing to a child is a parent who loves them, which is obviously the case here, otherwise there would be no “trying hard” and no “guilt”.
But the advice falls short in trying to suppress the feeling of failure. If you feel like a failure now, telling yourself you’re not is not going to solve the problem for long. The Bible frees us to own our failure. We will fail our children, probably every day in varying ways. Thinking that we can change that by harder work or some tricks of the trade is unrealistic.
Older sinners raising younger sinners is going to lead to sin against one another. My children don’t need me to try and be (or pretend to be) the perfect parent, they need to know the perfect Father they already have.
Their heavenly Father loves them perfectly, regardless of their sin. And He also loves me, even though I have failed over and over again, not least as a parent.
We serve our children by letting them know we are not perfect, by letting them know we’ve failed, apologising and asking for forgiveness in the same way we teach them to apologise to us. We’ve failed them if they grow up think they need Jesus more than we do.
Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared;
but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see
him as he is. (1 John 3:2 ESV)