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What I See in Great Parents


It can be easy to look at some parents and think to yourself, “I bet they were a born natural” or “They are so lucky their kids are so great.” But after spending time with some successful parents I’ve learned that many of them are scarred by bad parenting experiences, their own past mistakes, and a wish to do better than what they’ve previously experienced.

What separates great parents from the pack is an authenticity about their past mistakes.  They see themselves as ‘works in progress’ and not perfect. They don’t have to try to be perfect, they’ve already come to realize they never will be. There is no sense of superiority in their lives, and if you try to put that on them they will quickly distance from the label.

Their past mistakes don’t define them, and instead inspire them to be different. Their mistakes are theirs to own, but their children have seen them grow out of bad habits like a bad temper, not keeping promises, or lack of margin in private lives.

The only thing that really matters to them is the relationship. They are willing to be authentic with their kids because they value the relationship with their children over everything else. Nobody has ever had to ask forgiveness of somebody they don’t know, the relationship being valued opens the door for forgiveness later if needed.

They create value in their family. They value family with their time, and their commitments. They value what they choose to do with their family, and they put value on their children with their words. Their words have meaning in the lives of their kids because of this quality.

There are no perfect parents, and there are no mistake-free ways of parenting. The sooner we realize this, the sooner we can get about the business of parenting the way God has made us to parent. Then we can truly begin to be confident in who we are.



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.

1 Comment

  1. mary · September 3, 2013

    On the flip side, some in family may not respect the fact that they cant violate a married couple privacy either. Great post!