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“The First Step to Being a Good Parent”
Listen to the following episodes on Apple podcasts by clicking the titles.
“Stop Being the Leader!” (episode 7)
“The 5th Way to Parent, Part 1” (episode 26)
“The 5th Way to Parent, Part 2” (episode 27)
“The Second Most Important Question You Need to Ask Your Kids” (episode 45)
“How to Be Jesus to Your Kids” (episode 46)
“When to Raise Your Voice: is yelling ever appropriate?” (episode 48)
“Evangelism Parenting” (episode 63)
“The Peaceful Parenting series” (episode 69)
“How to Be a Truth/Love Parent” (episode 90)
“Christian Parenting 101” (episode 92)
“Fragrant Parenting” (episode 111)
“Speed Parenting | how to be an Ambassador Parent when there’s no time, Part 1” (episode 115)
“Speed Parenting | how to be an Ambassador Parent when there’s no time, Part 2” (episode 116)
“Needy Parenting” (episode 122)
“Parenting Like The Holy Spirit” (episode 123)
“Hosea Parenting” (episode 135)
“Is It Okay to Get Mad?” (episode 153)
“Mothering for Jesus” (episode 157)
“Fathering for Jesus” (episode 167)
“A Parent’s 5 Jobs, Part 1 | Ambassador” (episode 184)
“The Chief of Sinners in Your Home” (episode 215)
“Your Family Needs to Go to Church” (episode 175)
“Creating Community” (episode 198)
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Welcome to the second episode in our new series, “How Do You Become a New Parent in the New Year?”
If you didn’t catch the first episode, please listen to that one first.
And if you’re new to Truth.Love.Parent., I welcome you and am excited that you’re starting the new year with us. We’ve had a jump in our statistics lately, so that either means new families are joining us in this journey, or it means that a lot of you made New Year’s resolutions to get caught up with your podcast listening.
Either way, I’m blessed by your being here and pray that we can equip you.
And I truly believe we’re going to do that.
This series is all about how you can take the first steps in being an intentional, premeditated, disciple-making, Ambassador Parent who teaches, interprets, counsels, and trains your children.
But, before we get into that — if you’ve been listening to the show for any period of time — please rate, review, and/or recommend us.
You can rate and review us on iTunes — it only takes a minute — and you can recommend us on Facebook.
When you do that, you’re giving those secular companies a reason to introduce us to new families looking for help and encouragement.
I know that Cara has done that several times. She’s one of our Patrons, and she’s constantly telling people about TLP. We have her to thank for today’s episode, so I hope you find her wherever she is in the world and show your appreciation.
And, if you’d be interested in learning more about TLP’s mission and goals, and what it means to be a Patron of the show, you can click the “5 Ways to Support TLP” link in the description of this and every show.
Alright, one more thing before we jump into the main topic. Recently the company we’ve used to process your generous donations has made some poor choices. Patreon has decided — like many of the other tech giants out there — that they have the right to determine what is ethical, and they’re capriciously punishing people who don’t align with their worldview.
Well, being a podcast dedicated to Christ-honoring parenting, I can only imagine how long it will be before they decide that our philosophy of life is hate-speech or intolerant or any other number of politically-correct buzz words.
And — even if they don’t boot us from their site — I’m not super interested in continuing to give them over 7% of your donations.
Therefore, for the moment, we’re transitioning all of that to PayPal.
PayPal is experienced, trusted, convenient, and has not yet decided that’s its purpose is to curate the world.
So, since we’re a listener-supported ministry, I’d ask you to consider giving in 2019, and — if you choose to do so — PayPal will be a super-easy way for you to give one-time donations or to become a Patron by giving every month.
And they collect a much smaller percentage for processing as well.
Okay, let’s jump into the meat of the show.
We’re going to start with — what I believe — is the most important part of our mission.
Let me say it one more time: TLP exists to glorify God by equipping dads and moms to be intentional, premeditated, disciple-making, Ambassador Parents.
That’s our mission.
And then, for this series, we’re also going to talk about how to take the first steps in the four jobs that make up being an Ambassador Parent. We’re going to talk about teaching, interpreting, counseling, and training your kids.
And you could probably tell that the hinge on which our mission swings is the Ambassador Parent.
Intentional, premeditated, and disciple-making all define being an Ambassador, and teaching, interpreting, counseling, and training is what the Ambassador Parent does.
So, that will be our starting place.
How do we become Ambassador Parents?
As always, we’re going to cover a lot of ground, and you can get our free episode notes from Taking Back the Family whenever you want.
Alright, let’s start with the outline we introduced last time.
For each of those four points, I’m going to give you some practical first steps. So let’s get started.
1. Learn the Truth.
As I mentioned last time, these episodes are not designed to teach you anything we haven’t already discussed about what it means to be a Christ-honoring parent. We’re focusing on how to start being a Christ-honoring parent.
However, I do want to remind you of what you’ve learned, and — if you’ve never heard the episodes I’m going to share — you can learn the material and get caught up with the rest of us.
We have so many relevant episodes about what it means to be an Ambassador Parent. So, I’ve included a comprehensive list with all the links in the description of today’s episode and at TruthLoveParent.com.
They include our first episode on the subject “Stop Being the Leader!,” and — of course — “The 5th Way to Parent” series.
But there’s also our “Speed Parenting” series, our episodes about Evangelism Parenting, Needy Parenting.
There’s also parenting like Hosea, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
And, again, the links to all of these are below.
So, that’s the first point. You can’t believe something you don’t know, and you can’t become something you haven’t learned.
But, before we move to point 2, I want to reiterate the obvious — we will never be able to be an Ambassador Parent if we do not have a personal relationship with God.
Please, my friends, answer these two questions for me:
If the answer to either of those is “No,” please get some help. You can call me on the phone, and I would be more than happy to introduce you to our great God.
Okay, so that’s the first point.
2. Decide to believe the Truth.
Like I said last time, no one can do this for you. Belief, faith, and trust is a personal decision to live like what you know is actually true.
That’s going to require action.
So, what do we need to believe to be Ambassador Parents?
We need to believe that God is Who He says He is.
We need to believe that He commands us to be His ambassadors.
We need to believe that to not be His ambassador is a sin.
We need to believe that the Bible is going to give us everything we need to be the best ambassadors we can be.
We need to believe that we must be continually learning and submitting in order to become the ambassadors He called and created us to be.
And we need to believe that all the things He expects from us are non-negotiables.
Will you do this? Because until you choose to believe that this is how you have to live and parent, it will only be head-knowledge.
Head-knowledge alone puffs up, it’s not until we put it into practice that it becomes wisdom.
First you learn, then you believe, and then . . .
3. Get some help.
Now, last time I said that this is a HUGE discussion to which we must dedicate much more time later. I also laid out the following 5 observations concerning the importance of community.
To this point, I’d encourage you to listen to the following episodes:
The first is the “Your Family Needs to Go to Church” series which starts in episode 175. And the second is episode 198, “Creating Community.” Those links will be below as well.
But specifically in regard to becoming an Ambassador Parent, this is what I’d suggest.
You can do this as individuals or as a couple, and if you’re going to do it as individuals, then definitely find someone who is the same sex.
1. Find someone who is willing to take this journey with you.
You’re starting on a quest to be a new and better parent this year; the individual has to be on page with that.
Of course, this could be a spouse, but it doesn’t have to be. If your spouse is unsaved, then I would encourage you to invest in a same-sex mentor/disciple type of relationship to assist you.
And, as I said last time, though I believe you and your spouse need to be on the same page and keeping each other accountable, I believe you will find more success as you invite others into the process.
2. Find someone who’s willing to become a newer, better parent, or an older individual who’s already been there. You know, like a mature parent who’s children are gone from the home and following Christ.
3. Get on the same page. This basically means that you both know and believe the same thing when it comes to parenting.
4. Give each other the freedom to be honest. Invite them to be real. The Bible tells us that the wounds of a friend are faithful. That’s what you want. You want a friend who will faithfully wound you in love.
5. Ask them to watch out for this one thing: are you parenting the way Jesus would parent?
Now, that’s broad, and that’s okay. That’s the job of an Ambassador.
6. Spend time together that involves real parenting.
One of the easiest things to do is fake our parenting for a couple hours at church. However, when you spend regular amounts of time together in various situations and venues, it’s much easier for others to really see us for who we are.
Now, this really isn’t as hard as it sounds, it’s just counter-culturally-intuitive for most of us. But it’s the way God designed the church to work.
Just remember this: find a Christ-honoring friend who’s willing to grow as an Ambassador who will be honest with you about whether or not you’re parenting the way Jesus would.
And, now the really practical part . . .
4. Make small changes.
Now, I know this is the part for which we’ve all been waiting, but it was so vital that we lay that prior foundation.
If we don’t know what an Ambassador looks like, if we don’t believe we need to be the First Follower, and if we don’t have community that will support and strengthen us, then the next part will be impossible.
And, again, don’t forget that our free episode notes and transcript are available all the time at TruthLoveParent.com on our blog, Taking Back the Family.
So, here are some first steps.
1. Solidify — for certain — that you are born again.
I’m going to include a link to a new page at TruthLoveParent.com. It will walk you through the introductory information necessary for you to understand the Gospel and learn why a relationship with God is so important. It’s called “The First Step to Being a Good Parent.”
2. Commit your parenting to the Lord.
I suggest that you — by yourself or with your spouse — spend some time with God talking to Him about becoming His Ambassador to your family.
I don’t like “form prayers” and there’s nothing magical about what I’m going to share, but I share it in the same spirit that Jesus shared the Disciple’s Prayer. Consider it a mere outline of important points to include in your discussion with God.
As you take the first steps in becoming an Ambassador Parent, I believe you should pray these ideas to God on a daily basis, renewing your mind and recommitting every morning or every time you’re tempted to parent in your own way or every time you fail in your parenting.
3. Schedule a time to study what it means to be an Ambassador Parent.
If something is worth doing, it’s worth scheduling.
Plan a time to not only read II Corinthians 5:11-21, but also really understand it. It’s one of the most foundational passages concerning our call to ambassadorship.
And then allow that time in the Word to draw you to other passages. Commit to regularly spending time with the God you’re called to emulate.
Also, if you haven’t heard all of the episodes we’ve published concerning Ambassador Parenting, you should plan time to listen to them as well.
They’re chock-full of biblical passages and principles designed to deepen your knowledge and application of this concept.
4. Make it a priority to attend church.
Again, how can you hope to impersonate the King of Kings if you don’t really know much about Him?
So, what do you do if you’re already born again, already passionate about growing in your ambassadorship, consistent in the Word and assembling of the church, and you’ve already read all the books and listened to all the podcasts you can about parenting?
Well . . .
5. Attack your puny kingdom.
To do this, you’re going to have to identify at least one area in your life where you parent for self instead of God.
This won’t be as difficult as you may think, just ask your spouse or your kids. Or ask your parenting mentor.
Or, you could do this great LifeWork project and write down 75 areas where you sin against God in your parenting.
It’s a fantastic project because it requires deep introspection, honesty, and understanding of Truth.
If you’re really interested in doing this, here are some pointers.
The first 10 should come pretty easily, but they’ll likely be broad. Any number of other items could spin off those. For example: You may write, “I’m impatient with my kids.”
Wonderful! Now ask, “Why?”
Here’s what my list may look like:
“I’m impatient with my kids.”
“I want my kids to do things on my time table.”
“I want my kids to do things my way.”
“I don’t want to have to wait when I have things to do.”
“I don’t like having to remind them of things I’ve already told them.”
“I don’t like being contradicted.”
“I don’t like it when they think they can run their own lives.”
“I don’t like parenting unless it’s fun.”
“I’m too focused on my own plan instead of God’s plan.”
“I’m arrogant enough to think that my kids should living for me.”
You see where this is going?
Now, what’s the point?
Well, once I’ve identified some of the core beliefs that are motivating what I do, I need to attack those. I need to tear them down. To use King James language, I need to “mortify the deeds of the flesh.”
Come up with a plan in the new year to become the best version of your own worst enemy.
Normally, when we say things like “You’re your own worst enemy,” we’re talking about how we’re the ones making it difficult to glorify God in our lives.
However, we need to become our flesh’s worst enemy. We need to wage war — in the power of God — on the sin in our lives.
And, though all of our unbelief has similar roots, you’re going to have to really think about the main roadblock in your own heart that’s been hindering you from being a better Ambassador for Christ.
6. Make your commitment visible.
As you’re renewing your mind and you identify what you need to put off and what you need to put on, I suggest you post it somewhere in the house.
It would be great to have a Bible verse about patience visible to the whole house.
In another room you could post a question like, “Was that patient?”
On your bathroom mirror you could tape, “Who are you going to worship today?”
And get Scripture on the walls everywhere you can!
Doing this not only refocuses your mind throughout the day, but it also causes your family to grapple with the same information.
It would also be fun to redeem social media a little.
Make your goals known on your walls and profiles and in your groups. You can comment on this post. You can share your goals on our Facebook page or in our closed group, The TLP Family.
But you should defiantly tell your accountability partner. Share with your friend what you’re working on so they can have an active role in the process.
And all of this is designed to help you take the first steps to becoming an Ambassador Parent.
By the way, if you think of any other important first steps, please send them to TeamTLP@TruthLoveParent.com so we can share them with everyone!
Of course, when we talk of being an Ambassador, we’re discussing a very broad idea with many Truths and principles.
So, the following episodes in this series are going to address the more specific elements, like being intentional, premeditated, disciple-making, teaching, interpreting, counseling, and training parents.
And you can always feel free to contact the TLP Counselors at Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com if you think you need some more specific help for your unique family situation.
I don’t know about you, but this series is really exciting me. It’s so encouraging to know that God designed us for change, empowers us for change, and has given us everything we need for change in His Word and church.
All we have to do is take the first step.
So, to that end, I’ll see you next time.
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