Over the next few weeks leading up to the release of Lead Your Family Like Jesus, Phil Hodges, one of my co-authors, and I are going to be answering questions that my amazing launch team queried us with. I hope you can learn from some of our answers. Parenting is a constant learning process, and I hope you’ll be encouraged in what you read.
How does it look for one parent to lead like Jesus when the other is not interested or not a believer? (I know I have many readers who are doing this faith thing with their kids without much help from their spouse.)
Phil: It may come down to answering the question: How can I best serve the spiritual well-being of my family in my daily choices and priorities? During the early years of our marriage, I must admit I abdicated much of my spiritual leadership in our family while I was preoccupied with work. Jane served as the primary spiritual guide for our children by maintaining daily routines connected to the spiritual growth of our kids. She was faithful in modeling bedtime prayers, singing “Jesus loves me” lullabies, teaching manners, insisting on thank-you notes, grace at sit-down dinners, and regular church attendance and Sunday. As a note of hope and thanks to her perseverance and encouragement, I eventually joined her in the spiritual leadership of our family.
Tricia: I am thankful I married a wonderful Christian man, but for many years he wasn’t leading spiritually in the home as I thought he should. I came up with all types of devotional times, or worship times, and other rituals but nothing stuck . . . and I started becoming a real nag. One day I felt like God was tapping my shoulder. What did He tell me? I didn’t make a very good personal Holy Spirit! After that I shut my mouth, stepped back, and started praying. When I stepped back, John stepped forward. I know that will not work as quickly for everyone, but when we focus on ourselves first then it gives God time to work!
*Photo credit: Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
It’s not easy being married to a non-believer. Then, we my spouse did become a believer, it was more of a “bench” beleiver. It is up to me to teach them right from wrong and what it means to follow Jesus. What I do is try to be the best example I can, apologize for times I am not and DON”T point out everything “wrong” about their dad. I explain choices & consequences often.
Even then, there are days it is very hard. Married 24 years, I’ve been a believer for 17, and there are days I just want someone else to discipline, correct and guide. I wish he was more involved. But for now, the best thing I can do is to love him the best that I can and teach my kids the best I can.