Parenting Doesn’t Always Look the Same

Intentional Parenting doesn’t look the same for every family–not now and not in biblical times.

For Mother’s Day and Father’s Day this year, I posted some observations on biblical mothers and fathers who didn’t fit the conventional molds.

Three Biblical Moms who “Owned” their Unconventional Roles

  1. Naomi: the mother-in-law role
  2. Hannah: the longed-for-and-lost role
  3. Eunice: the cross-cultural marriage role

These three mothers didn’t let their circumstances excuse them from raising children who loved and served God.

Three Biblical Dads who “Owned” their Unconventional Roles

  1. David: the substitute dad role
  2. Joseph: the stepfather role
  3. Paul: the spiritual father role

These very-real fathers looked beyond bloodlines to raise the next generation for God’s glory.

10-25 apple house (1)
(c) Carole Sparks

If you want to read more about each of these parents, click through to the original posts! I hope you are encouraged in your unconventional role or God leads you to encourage someone else in his/her role.

Intentional Parenting doesn’t look the same for everyone. It didn’t back in Old and New Testaments times either. 3 moms & 3 dads who “owned” their unconventional roles. #IntentionalParenting encouragement via @Carole_Sparks. #BiblicalParenting

Are you particularly encouraged by one of these parents? Do you know of another awesome unconventional parent in the Bible? Please share your answers to either question in the comments below. I would love to make a collection of studies with present-day examples! 

Mom’s Best Gifts for Dad Every Day (not just Father’s Day)

**This post is exclusively for mothers. Sorry, guys.**

This Sunday is our official day to honor the fathers in our lives, including the father(s) of our children. (I’m married to the father of both my children, but I know that’s not always the case. These principles still apply if you’re divorced, never married, or otherwise.) When it comes to fathers, unless you honor him every day, you won’t be able to authentically honor him on this special day. As we approach Father’s Day this year, consider how you might tweak your attitude toward your husband in order to show him more honor.

3 Ways to Honor the Father of Your Children (with lots of sub-points)

I’m going to be very straightforward here. It’s not my intention to be harsh; I just don’t want any padding to distract you from the truth in the details (and my word count gets too high too quickly anyway). I’m not pointing fingers. This is the way I deal with myself.

  1. Show Respect

God calls women to respect their husbands. It’s one of those verses with no qualifications, no conditions. It simply says, “and the wife must respect her husband” (Ephesians 5:33). Not “if he deserves it,” or “if you feel like it,” or “if he loves you like he should.” In context, the previous clause instructs husbands to love their wives and the following clause instructs children to obey their parents. So you can see that I’m not leaving anything out here. It was a woman (Aretha Franklin) who demanded it: R-E-S-P-E-C-T, but it’s also a woman (well, Christ-following women—that’s us) who must show it.

A few things respect might mean:

  • Don’t interrupt him in the middle of a sentence.
  • Support his parenting decisions (even if you don’t 100% agree).
  • Give him space to be himself. So he likes ‘70s disco music? There’s nothing actually wrong with that.
  • Don’t praise another man too much. Short story: I recently met a new doctor that I immediately liked and respected. I knew I’d praised him too much when my husband (of nineteen years) said, “Good thing you didn’t meet him twenty years ago!”
  • Treat him like an adult, not like one of the kids. If he doesn’t usually do the laundry, don’t take the opportunity to correct him because he doesn’t do it “right.”
  1. Show Restraint

Sometimes, as wives and moms, we think we need to “vent” about something our husbands do…or don’t do. Nothing productive comes of venting. If I have a problem with my husband, I talk to him, not to my girlfriends. At most, I might share, “Bestie, I need to have a difficult conversation with husband tonight. Will you please pray for me?” There might come a time (after it’s resolved) to share this story in a God-honoring way, but most of the time, when we “vent” we’re just looking for someone to agree with us that we are completely right and the object of our venting (in this case, the husband) is completely wrong.

I’ve found it helpful to apply Philippians 4:8 here.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—[about my husband] think about such things.

If I take captive every thought (2 Corinthians 10:5) and keep my thoughts on the positive aspects of his character and life, my words will follow.

It goes back to respect. Showing restraint regarding my husband means I don’t tell belittling stories about him—even if they are funny. It means I don’t itemize his faults to others. It means I never talk to our children with phrases like, “If your father hadn’t…” or “Well, your father…”. I honor his reputation among our peers, in front of other women, and with our children.

  1. Show Recognition

In general, men love praise. But here’s something else: Children love for their fathers to be praised. So tell your children about something wonderful their father did in the past (or recently). Tell them what you like about him, what originally attracted you to him. If he catches you doing it, even better!

A few ways to recognize your husband’s character and actions:

  • Make a habit of showing appreciation for something he did and admiring the quality of it: “That is some nicely applied plumbers tape under the sink, honey. It looks like it’ll hold for a long time.” Sounds silly, I know, but try it. You’ll be surprised!
  • Acknowledge an effort to change/improve and comment on his hard work.
  • Praise qualities in your children that they inherited from their father. Things like, “You are so generous, just like Dad.”

As a Christ-following parent, you’ve probably quoted Ephesians 4:29 to your kids, but have you considered it in reference to your husband?

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

I know I want a strong, confident man. If offering a little extra praise is what it takes, that’s a small sacrifice to make. Maybe your husband doesn’t really need that. Still do it. Why? Because of who’s listening. Your children. When you praise their father, they benefit as well!

By taking time to recognize his contributions to your life and within your children, you’ll find it easier to dwell on the positive aspects of his character (showing restraint—#2) and respect him as a person (#1).

Don’t wait for Father’s Day to honor your children’s father! (click to tweet) These kinds of gifts come from “a wife of noble character” (Proverbs 30:10) and last through decades, not just days.


For Further Study: