This is a guest post from Brett Bradley, who used to be on summer staff at Pine Cove years ago. He is a great example of a man applying lessons learned earlier in life into his professional role now. If you are interested in writing a guest post for this blog, see my guest post guidlines here.

Does your job affect your parenting?  It’s a question that all parents should ask on a regular basis.  Not necessarily from the standpoint of providing financially or allowing for time with your kids but rather your attitude and character. The question could be asked this way.  Do the skills, values, daily habits, and character qualities of your job make you more or less able to raise happy, healthy, respectful, successful children?

This topic reminds me of the movie We Were Soldiers.  In the movie, a young soldier headed for war asks his leader (Mel Gibson) what he thinks about being both a soldier and a father.  I love the answer from Gibson’s character.  He says “I hope being good at one makes me better at the other.”  What a powerful statement!

This statement means that not only does our job affect our parenting but our parenting also affects our job.  So for me, as an Assistant Principal, my knowledge and experience of teaching, disciplining, leading, and interacting with students will help me be a better father as I will do the same with my own kids.  It also means that I will handle situations better as an Assistant Principal because my heart naturally shows more empathy as I treat students with the same love, kindness, respect, and discipline that I will give my own children.

Here are two ways that being good at your job can make you a better parent:

Pray.  Consistently ask God to reveal to you the character qualities and skills of your occupation that have a direct correlation to parenting.  Nearly every industry has positive character qualities such as service, hospitality, integrity, determination, creativity, problem solving, and leadership, just to name a few.  (If you cannot come up with any positive character qualities of your job, my guess is it is negatively influencing your parenting and it is time to look elsewhere.)

Share.  Give real life examples of times when you or someone at work showed integrity, leadership, humility, creativity, perseverance, or other positive values specific to your job.  They will soon begin to see and understand that you use….. the qualities that you are asking them to develop.

Here are two ways that being a good parent can make you better at work:

Pray.  Consistently pray for God to reveal to you the character qualities and skills that exist in your family and parenting that have a direct correlation to your occupation.  Just as you show love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (Galations 5:22, 23) at home to your family, make an effort to show the same fruits of the Spirit to the people you connect with at work.  Your family is your greatest tool for evangelism.  Pray that God would establish your family as a light in your community.

Share. All parents can relate to being proud of their children for an achievement at school or milestones such as walking, starting school, driving or graduating.  Likewise, parents that have experienced the terrible twos, puberty, rebellion or broken hearts share a common bond.  Briefly sharing these parenting experiences may positively influence other parents, while also building stronger relationships with coworkers and customers.

If this is true, it also means that being bad at one could make me worse at the other.  We all know that a stressful day at work can easily lead to a stressful evening at home.  Likewise, marital problems, rebellious children, or personal struggles at home can lead to distractions and poor performance at work.  It can be difficult to separate our work life from our home life.  The challenge is not to separate the two, but to focus on the attributes of your job and your family that complement one another and find the ways that being good at one makes you better at the other.

Whether you are at home, work, or somewhere in between, always keep Colossians 3:23 in mind.  “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not men.” 

When thinking about your role as a parent and your occupation, does being good at one make you better at the other?  Explain below in the comments.

Brett Bradley is a High School Assistant Principal in Oklahoma City.  He is a blessed husband, soon to be father, and is addicted to learning.  Connect with him on twitter, facebook, or check out his blog.
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