One mistake doesn’t = failure.

I had my two sharpened pencils ready to go but that was all that was sharp and ready as I prepared to take the test that would determine my future – the SAT college entrance exam. The Math section loomed like a specter of death.

It had been seven years since my last math class, Algebra I, where I squeaked by with a “grace” D. I was getting out of the Navy and had a job offer if I could get into college. Nobody told me there were SAT prep courses so I was going at this cold.

After looking over the Math questions I knew I was doomed. I didn’t have the foggiest idea how to even make an intelligent guess. But a salty old Navy Chief had taught me a secret. The Navy used multiple choice tests like the SAT and his advice was, “Boy, if you have absolutely no idea what the answer is, put C.”

That’s what I did for every single answer except I sprinkled in a few Bs. After all, I didn’t want to score 100 and have anyone think I was cheating.

Standing like a gladiator before the emperor I waited for my scores. Would it be thumbs up – and I live – or thumbs down and my life was over? The woman’s only comment, “You did very well on the Math portion.” I’m serious. That was the only comment.

Yes! There is a God in heaven and apparently He wanted me to go to college.

I’m glad raising children is not like math. If you make a mistake or two you don’t get the whole thing wrong!
In fact, God stuffed so much grace into every child that you can make a train load of mistakes and still end up with great kids.

Parenting is more like art.

In art – music, painting, sculpting, etc. – there are no formulas but there are principles.
Following these principles leads to success. Ignoring or ignorance of them leads to problems.
Formulas are rigid. Principles flex, adapt and work best when mixed with common sense.

Like a sculptor studies the marble or a painter carefully observes his subject, we need to become students of our children. “Know the condition of your flocks” – their strengths, weaknesses, gifts and frailties. (Proverbs 27:23)

Living by principles requires understanding what the principles are – a purpose of this blog – and then applying those principles in the daily chaos of life.

The great news is these principles are not hard to understand or apply.
You don’t have to be a genius to be an awesome parent.

The fact that you’re reading this blog tells me you’re already well on your way. Not because this blog is so awesome but obviously you want to be a great parent and are putting time and effort into it. That’s half the battle! And God will honor your efforts.

Apply principles with wisdom, grace and love.
Add lots of humility – ask your kids to forgive you when you do something stupid – and seek godly advice from folks who have produced good kids.

When you have no idea what to do, ask God. He is more concerned for your child than you are or ever possibly could be

Daily involve the Lord in this art project. He wants to guide you and together produce an amazing masterpiece that brings honor to Him and to you.

If you lack wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  James 1:5

Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.          ― Pablo Picasso

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