Best Parenting Lesson Ever

Many years ago my wife and I began to learn what we believe to be the best lesson on parenting that we’ve ever heard. 

Arguably there are plenty of great ideas on parenting, but this one’s been pretty darn good, and it’s a twofer – two great life lessons in one – one for marriage and one for parenting.  If we could only apply one parenting lesson, this is the one we’d both choose and stand on without question. 

Here it is: The best way to raise your kids is to build a great marriage. 

Wow.  By investing in us, we’ve been investing in them.  Think about that. If we focus on our spouse – being a great husband or wife, we’ll cover a lot of ground in teaching our kids about respect, love, pursuit, compromise, forgiveness and loyalty.  We can teach them about these and other great attributes by “being it” before their eyes each day.  We teach them how to treat each other. We teach them how to be loyal to their sibling first, over their friends and others.  Man, do I like seeing that. We teach them how to adapt and compromise. We teach them to invest in each other and their friends.  We teach them to make good decisions and, when they don’t, to learn to make better decisions the next time around.  We teach them about the power and effect of consistency, and that inconsistency in all these things is hurtful, painful and ineffective. 

Really, there is so much to parenting – so many things to think about, to teach, to watch for, and to be aware of.  So many things beyond this small bit of advice.  But, truly, this bit of advice sure covers a lot. Build your marriage. 

It’s a simple lesson of leadership.  What we do, how we act, our outward modeling is the strongest form of influence to those around us.  Good or bad. Consistent or not. Our kids, our team, our environment will usually be a strong reflection of what they see and experience most.

By the way, Amy and I are still working on this lesson – every day.  We fail, we goof, and so do our kids, but we keep it out there – something to work toward.  And, 25 years later, we can both truly say that for us, this is the best parenting advice ever.  Pretty  good marital advice as well.  As I said, a twofer!

And the bonus is that once those little rascals hit the road on their own journey, we’re still left with a great marriage, and perhaps they’ll be heading into one as well!