What Makes a Good Parent?


What makes a good parent? Is it possible we could boil it down to one defining characteristic? Maybe so.

I’m a big fan of Tim Keller, the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian in NYC.  This weekend, I listened to a sermon podcast titled Authentic Christianity. 

At the end of the sermon, Dr. Keller proposed that a truly authentic Christian is above all things, teachable.  That was his number one characteristic of an authentic Christian.  I found that fascinating, because it rings true, and I think it may also be the defining characteristic of a good parent.

We planted a small garden today, and I witnessed my 13 yr. old daughter hovering over her 6 yr. old brother. Interestingly, she exhibited classic “young parent” behavior – she shadowed his every move, bristled when he sprayed the tomatoes with too much water pressure, and generally over-controlled his experience.

At first, I was annoyed. Then I thought… I wonder where she learned that.


Over the next few days I’m going to be on the lookout for over-parenting. I know we’ve relaxed a ton since my daughter was little, but there’s probably still some hover-y residue built into our rules and habits.

And part of being teachable is expecting correction. Am I scared of making mistakes, or am I looking for them?  Am I ashamed when I make mistakes because I want to be perfect? Or am I glad to have them revealed so I can learn and grow.

Don’t set the bar with the imaginary people on Pintrest. Don’t aim for “Most Perfect Parent,” aim for “Most Improved” and you’ll win your child’s respect along the way.




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