I'm on the fence about the (in)famous hit TV show Duck Dynasty. I love that there's a family show where every episode ends with prayer. Even though it's touted as a Christian show, though, a lot of the content is not family friendly, in my opinion. But despite my hesitancy to endorse it, I was surprised to find a few hidden Biblical parenting gems in this odd television series.
3 Things About Biblical Parenting that Phil Robertson Taught Me
1. You don't have to be limited by your past failures
Many people know about Phil's rough past: how he nearly abandoned his wife and kids in favor of drinking and homelessness. His parenting skills were deplorable, at best. And yet, when the Lord mercifully saved him, Phil turned his life around completely with the Holy Spirit's help and is now loved and respected by both his kids and grandkids.
This should be great news for any of us who have been less-than-stellar parents in the past. I personally have been too critical and too apt to yell at my kids. I haven't encouraged or praised my little ones nearly enough. But praise the Lord, I'm seeing growth in myself as I turn over my frustration to Him and lean on the Spirit's leading.
2. Pray in front of your kids
During one episode of Duck Dynasty, Phil goes on an outing with one of his grandsons and his grandson's girlfriend. I don't remember much about the episode except for one part where Phil prays for his grandson's purity...right in front of his grandson. Actually, I would have completely missed that parenting moment had Jon not mentioned, "wow, I bet that's powerful to hear your parent or grandparent praying like that right in front of you."
Maybe this isn't a new concept for you, but for me, it was huge. Not only was Phil faithful to pray for his grandchildren, but he prayed right in front of them. His grandson wouldn't have any misunderstandings of what was expected of his conduct, and I have a feeling that Phil's prayer would be ringing in his ear if he were ever tempted to try something that wasn't in keeping with God's view of marriage.
So, Jon and I have been making it a habit not only to pray for our kids, but to pray in front of them, too. We'd always prayed with them - teaching them how to pray themselves - but when our kids hear us praying for them to be sensitive to the Lord's leading, to obey, and to be gracious, we hope it even further encourages our children to follow the Lord.
3. You never know who is watching
As I mentioned, I'm not sold on the Duck Dynasty show, and I've not seen every episode. But I happened to catch this particular one. Phil Robertson doesn't even know I exist, and yet the Lord used him to teach me several valuable parenting lessons. The point is, Phil wasn't aware of how far-reaching his parenting (or, in this case, grand-parenting) would be. He was simply doing what he felt God leading him to do.
In all likelihood, we won't know the far-reaching effects of our own parenting, either. But if we're faithful to do what the Lord has called us to do, He can use our meager attempts at obedience to reach the world for Christ.
I learned three valuable parenting lessons from Phil Robertson, of all people: not to be limited by past failures; to pray in front of our children; and to realize that we don't know who is watching.
Phil wasn't the most stellar example of a Godly husband and father, at least not in his early years. But God used him, broken and all. That means that the Lord can use you and me, too, no matter how many times we mess up in our parenting attempts. He is God, and He can fix our brokenness and use it for good in our own lives, in our children's lives, and in the lives of those around us.