At 27 years old, I was a bachelor who said, “Oh, I’m never getting married and having kids.” Now, as I inch closer to my 42nd chapter in life, I couldn’t imagine not being married for almost 14-years and having four uniquely different kids.
During my first year of marriage, I became a father to my 7-year-old son and my firstborn daughter. Doubling the challenges of parenthood brought a lot of questions. Add to that, as a military family, we moved a lot! Our oldest child started elementary school in Germany and later journeyed to D.C., San Diego, and suburban Virginia, where he graduated high school.
I had no doubts about whom I wanted to be to my children, but navigating toward the answers wasn’t easy. A pastor in Washington, D.C., told me, “You don’t have room to grow if you’re always the smartest person in your core group of friends.” There’s value to gain from those who are one or more steps ahead.
Unfortunately, my father wasn’t an option as a source of wisdom, my mother’s time in this world had long ended, and too many of my friends with kids weren’t ready to grow up. My grandparents raised my siblings and me to the best of their abilities, but they relied on the knowledge of their adult children to help them parent us in the 1990s. My wife’s (Erica) parents did a splendid job raising her and her brothers. However, they didn’t have experience parenting in so many different environments or raising a family in the digital age. Fortunately, Erica did have experience as a single mother. Still, parenting as a team was uncharted territory for her as well.
Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
Luckily, we leaned on other military families over the years who had similar experiences and challenges with their children. It has been a blessing to be able to rely on the knowledge and experience of our friends and family who had traveled the road before.
When it came time to equip two of our children with cell phones, we asked other parents how they handled things. Their advice on safety and mentorship of our kids was invaluable. Some parents recommended great apps they had safely and successfully used for their kids.
As Proverbs 13:20 says and we chose to abide by, “Walk with the wise and become wise …” It’s essential to have quality mentorship. If you only surround yourself with others at the same level of experience as yourself,you will learn how to fail more than how to succeed.
Do you see yourself more as a frustrated parent than a successful parent? Do you seek advice from experienced parents?
Look for adults who have more parenting experience than you and ask them for mentorship. Go to cedarcreek.tv/groups and find a parenting group to join.
Our series, It’s Just a Phase, is ending, but the Family Faith Plan remains available. If you haven’t checked it out yet, check it out today.
God, thank you for charging me with the responsibility of parenthood. Let me remember that my kids are a gift from you to raise and equip to go out into the world. Forgive me when I fall short of expectations. Humble me to ask my children for forgiveness as you have forgiven me. Let me discern between the parenting advice I receive to help make the best decisions for raising my family. Amen.
This post was written by Jaron Camp, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.
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