Triple-A Parenting in a Zig Zag World

Have you ever locked your keys in your car?  


Have you ever locked your keys in your car, while it was running?

A friend of mine did this the other day due to a distraction.

I was with him and totally surprised at his calm reaction-- (I would have had a freak-out tantrum filled with a few external screams, and internal “How could you be such a dork?” moments.)

He looked at me and said something like “No Biggie, I’ll just call AAA.”

What if there was a AAA for all of us imperfect parents?

Do you ever feel like you’re treading water as a parent?

You can’t stop swimming, because parenting never came with an “off button.”

You sneak a peek at other “freestyle” parents, and they appear to be swimming in their lane effortlessly while you zig-zag, here and there, trying to keep up with your kid.

You feel exhausted, undervalued, and heavy with a dose of guilt….every day.

You backstroke, for your life, to an edge of the pool…But you just never seem to be able to reach it.

You sense you are sinking, and wonder if you could get just a little support.

You’re not alone.

Picture me swimming over to you (yes, I’m wearing a pink floatie, proudly on each arm) with a blue inner-tube.

You notice that the large, red letters AAA are printed on the outside of this blue, buoying, floating doughnut as you climb aboard.

Imagine you and me simply talking about three A’s of parenting “the Jesus way,” as you rest and catch your breath.

Why do I bring Jesus into parenting?

Because he had an experience with his Father that you don’t want to miss.

Matthew, a follower of Jesus, records these words, God the Father spoke to Jesus His son:  “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)

Did you notice the first A of parenting the Jesus way?


Approval is all about sending a favorable message to your child, which spills out of your soul and into their thirsty heart.

The Father said, “Jesus, my son…you please me.”

Dads and moms.  I know you’re frazzled and frayed.

But here’s a challenge.

Why not end each evening whispering the words, “You delight me!” to your child.

Maybe it is right after you blow them a kiss at the cracked door of their room.

I guarantee you that as you walk away, that whisper of warm approval will wisp through their room, land on their heart, and alter them forever.

Did you catch the second A of AAA parenting?

God the Father gave Jesus affection.

Affection is a positive feeling a parent radiates toward their child.

It is the “I really like you” kind of emotion, which sends signals of security to your kids.

Here are a few ways I shower affection on my kids.

(They are descriptive, not prescriptive.  Try them on and see if they fit.)

I give my teenage boys back-rubs and then put them in head-locks.

I kiss my girls on their cheeks (O.K.  Truth be told, sometimes I blow on their cheek to make a farting noise…I want to ready them for marrying a man who will make all kinds of strange noises).

I text the kids with things like “I just thought of you and got a warm fuzzy….dad.”

Your children need to actually feel your warm-heartedness aimed in their direction.

What?  You’re not the affectionate type?  Yes you are!  You just need to playfully practice this more and more.  Give it time.

The final A of AAA parenting is affirmation.

Affirmation is actually a legal concept.  

Affirmation is when a higher court (in this case, you the parent) judges that a lower court is correct (the actions and identity of your child) and should stand.

To simplify, your child needs you to point out their internal value and beautiful behavior.

God the Father was excited that Jesus His son was about to live a beautiful life for others: teaching, healing and ultimately dying for lost orphans needing a family.

Dads, you can hold your little girls, give them a tickle and as you look them in their smiling faces say “You are MY little girl and worth more than a hundred-gazillion chocolate chip cookies to me!”

Moms, you can walk up to your teenage son, gently cup his pimply, oily cheeks in your hands and say “I’m proud of you for mowing the lawn.  Your hard work really helps your father and proves to me that you are gonna be a great husband and dad someday yourself!”

Your boy will never forget that moment mom.

Ok.  Sorry.

It’s time to get off your duff and re-enter the choppy waters of parenting.

But wait.

Take this AAA inner-tube of support and get back on whenever you need to.

It’s free of charge.

And when you get a chance, take the time to read the fine print on the top of the tube which reads:

“Mom…dad…This is Jesus.  I approve of you, have warm affection toward you and affirm you.  Look at me on the cross where I bled out my heart for you, sending you the message that I would rather die for you than keep on living without you.  I loved you more than my own life and delight in you with such pleasure!”

Pastor Howard
Senior Pastor
Metro North Church