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Sucky Parent Syndrome


Parents are struggling to feel like they do a good job. How do I know that? Easy. I’m a parent.  I know I’m not terrible, but I’m so far from being who’d I like people to think I am. I lose my temper to often. I forget what’s really important too many times to count.

I keep trying. I keep learning, and I’ve learned to get really good at asking for forgiveness. This is the world that I live in, and it’s a familiar place for many other parents. Yet, I’m not depressed…in fact, I’m far from sad about it. I’ve learned to keep striving for the ideal and perfect, while accepting that I will never be able to actually get there.

My reason? Jesus. Jesus was forever calling us to live the ideal. He said children should obey parents, and wives should serve their husbands, and husbands should lay it all down for their wife, and fathers should speak words of grace to their children. All these things he called for, we often fail at.

Why would he call me to something so unbelievablely difficult to maintain?

Because He wants us to strive for the ideal. He knows we can’t even come close when we rely on our own strength. We need him to lead and guide us. He doesn’t judge us by our ability to be ideal, he judges us by our willingness to accept him or not.

You and I are not bad parents, but we are so much better when we let God lead us in our parenting. When we continue to grow in our relationships with our father God, then we continue to grow in our relationship as a father. When we learn to let God lead us, we learn to lead those around us.

Don’t give up on the ideal.  


Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.