Where Did I Go Wrong?



When a child does something horribly wrong it’s typical for parents to ask themselves, “Where did we go wrong?” You re-live memories where things could have perhaps contributed to a child’s downfall, a time where discretion failed or parental mistakes were made. You think back on how you could have done things differently if given the chance.

But the truth is, we are not perfect parents, because we are not perfect people. The Bible is clear that all have fallen short of the glory of God. Did you mess up sometime during your child rearing? Yes, of course you did, we all mess up somehow. God did not call us to be perfect parents. Why would he, knowing what he has to work with? We are painfully flawed. We could not raise a child perfectly no matter how hard we try because we cannot even conceive in our hearts what perfect is. Romans 3:10 tells us that “there is no one righteous, not even one.” That’s why Christ came, not so you could raise a child perfectly, but so that in your failure to parent perfectly he would reconcile what is lost and fallen. If you parented perfectly he wouldn’t have needed to come. And parenting isn’t all he needed to save. He came to save: marriages, churches, families, the world, and you.

The other truth to realize is that your child isn’t perfect either. Even when there were instances where you did things well, he or she can respond righteously or in sin. Your child gets to choose. You might help your son get a driver’s license by investing time and money to make sure it’s done properly to give him the best possible outcome. He then might choose his newfound freedom to drive to church events, or take food to the shut in, or he might use it to attend the latest drinking party or sneak around to attend something dangerous. So even if it was possible for your child to have the perfect parent, your child can still choose to be imperfect and sin. As a former educator I never held to the old ‘tabula rasa’ theory which states that children are born innocent with a blank slate to write upon.

Scripture tells us the opposite, in Psalm 51:5 we read, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” We are born in sin because mankind is fallen. Your child needs a Savior just as much as you do, and you are not it.

You see perfection isn’t something we humans practice on this side of eternity. Our brain knows that it should exist, and at one time it did, but we chose death. So in answer to the original question, “Where did I go wrong?” It happened in the garden. The better question is, “Where did I go right?” My answer is, ”I told my child about a God who loves, and sent His Son to die for her sins, and mine.”

Copyright Symbol by Lynne Thompson

Pete: “Having a difficult child can sometimes leave you frustrated and depressed. Feel free to contact me for a parent session where I can encourage you with a parenting and communication style that best fits your child.”

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2 responses to “Where Did I Go Wrong?”
  1. John Vonhof Avatar
    John Vonhof

    Beautiful piece, especially for us parents who have asked that question. Sometime you simply plant the seed—and the water it with prayer.

    1. Pete Avatar

      Thank you John.