Parenting requires incredible balance. How do we correct our kids and affirm our unconditional love for them? How do we say, “You seriously need to work harder and do better. However, you cannot earn my love”? Tough question, right?

Sometimes an example is better than fancy theory. What does this sort of parenting look like? Well, if you are one of my kids, it can look something like this:

Dear Eli!

I know I say it a lot (and hopefully live it out), but I really love you. I don’t just see awesome potential in you. I see it brought out by who you are and what you do. I am, in fact, proud of you.

Think about life as having two seasons or cycles. In one season, you’re in a groove. You’ve got a purpose, passion, and plan. You’re working hard. Things are going well. You’ve got “traction” in life and you’re moving forward. This is a great, positive, and productive season. You’ve got room to have a little extra fun, take some risks, and really put yourself out to help others.

The second season is also a great season, but it’s very different. Things are less well defined. You’re struggling to get traction in life and move forward. You’re working hard, but not making as much progress as you’d like. Out of this desert time comes the vision and passion that drive the first season. It’s not as much fun, but it’s nothing to be afraid of or run from. It is a time to buckle down. It’s time to get on a regular sleep cycle, make postitive decisions about what you put in your body, and stay well away from the things and people who can distract you and hold you down. It’s time to get rid of your baggage so you can run fast and hard toward where you want to be.

Right now, you’re in the second more difficult season. Make good choices that get you where you want to be. Set goals and work toward them. I can’t help but make recommendations, but your goals are of course up to you:

  • Get ready to pass pre-employment assessments
  • Stay away from people who do drugs as a lifestyle
  • Get a new better job that you can work at for at least two years
  • Make solid friends who can pull you up rather than drag you down
  • Keep serving at church every week (don’t miss)
  • Go to church
  • Attend young adult small group
  • Knock out some chores around the house (it will feel good to contribute)
  • Spend some time with your family (not every moment that we’re all home together, but some.)

That’s it man. I love you. I don’t mean to ask you to be someone you’re not. I want you to bring the awesomeness that is you to those activities and have a positive impact on those communities and your family.

photo credit: Sketching via photopin (license)

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