My Mother-in-Law has A Parent's Prayer framed in her guest room where Randy and I sleep when we're there. It is the best prayer I've ever read that expresses the kind of parent I want to be.
Oh, God, make me a better parent.
Help me to understand my children,
to listen patiently to what they have to say
and to answer all their questions kindly.
Keep me from interrupting them,
talking back to them and contradicting them.
Make me as courteous to them
as I would have them be to me.
Give me the courage to confess my sins
against my children and to ask of them forgiveness,
when I know that I have done them wrong.
May I not vainly hurt the feelings of my children.
Forbid that I should laugh at their mistakes or
resort to shame and ridicule as punishment.
Let me not tempt a child to lie and steal.
So guide me hour by hour that I may demonstrate
by all I say and do that honestly produces happiness.
Reduce, I pray, the meanness in me.
May I cease to nag:
and when I am out of sorts,
help me, O Lord, to hold my tongue.
Blind me to the little errors of my children
and help me to see the good things that they do.
Give me a ready word for honest praise.
Help to treat my children as those of their own age,
but let me not exact of them the judgments
and conventions of adults.
Allow me not to rob them of the opportunity
to wait upon themselves,
to think, to choose, and to make decisions.
Forbid that I should ever punish them
for my self satisfaction.
May I grant them all of their wishes that are
and have the courage always to
withhold a privilege that I know will do them harm.
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