Blog  /  Parenting  /  The Best Parenting Decisions We’ve Ever Made

 

We have been parents for 14 years now, and have made plenty of mistakes with our three children. (Can “Our Worst Parenting Decisions” can be a follow up blog post? Maybe not. After all, I try to limit my posts to only 700 words.)

Despite making more mistakes than I care to admit or even think about, God has been very gracious to us and our children. And He has helped us make some great decisions as we have led and discipled our children.

I’d like to think that we strategically thought of and planned out all of these great choices. Some we did, for sure. But most of them were either taught or modeled to us, or both. And often we stumbled into a good decision and didn’t realize it until afterwards.

In any case, I’m going to claim these great ideas as my own. (But here’s the good part, you can steal any of these ideas and claim and claim them as your own, too.)

1. Being disciples of Jesus. Again, my wife and I are far from perfect. But we are both continually seeking to grow as followers of Jesus. If you want to be a better parent, be a better disciple of Jesus.
2. Marriage > Kids. Our marriage takes precedence over our parenting. Children feel most secure when they know their parents love each other. This means we regularly schedule date nights and get-aways. And this also means sometimes telling them, “I can’t talk or play with you know, because Mommy and I are having a discussion.”
3. Moving to Allendale. This wasn’t a pure parenting decision, but moving to the Allendale (SC) community helped shape our children in ways we never could have, had we kept living in suburbia.
4. Moving back to Greenville. This wasn’t just the act of moving in itself, but about the entire difficult decision to leave Allendale, and figuring out where to go next. We included our kids in this process, as we talked with them about how we can all trust in God for what wanted from us.
5. Sheltering our kids. Though I don’t make the case that Christian families should homeschool, we are glad that our children have been less exposed to questionable, more mature, or immoral thoughts and behaviors. And we have regularly said “no” to some of their requests to do things with other friends, when we felt uncomfortable with what was going on.
6. Exposing our kids. Conversely, we have regularly “unsheltered” our children. Our children have made plenty of friends through our after school programs and summer camps, friends who come from a wide variety of familial and cultural backgrounds. And sometimes we would let them watch certain movies, with the understanding that we would have a conversation afterwards.
7. Not spending lavishly on Christmas and birthday presents. That’s what grandparents are for! (Just kidding. Sort of.) But seriously, we buy one moderate present for each (maybe one or two more practical things at Christmas – like clothing). They’ve never (seriously) complained.
8. Making a big part of Christmas presents to be an experience. We do get them small presents, but as often as we can, we make it a big present to do something together at Christmastime. These memories have proven to be much more meaningful than any gadget or toy. Usually this experience involves a few days or a week out of town, and has even included a Secret Vacation using a bonus paycheck.

What about you? What is the best parenting decision you have made?

Joey Espinosa

Joey is a husband to one patient wife, and a father to three unique children. He is learning about parenting as he goes and writes about it on \”A Different Way” {differentway4kids.blogspot.com/} More importantly, he is a follower of one loving Savior, and writes about his family’s adventure serving Him on Justice, Kindness, Humility {justkindhumble.wordpress.com/} You can connect with him on Twitter {@EspinosaJoey} and he would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on family and mission.

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