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Why You Should Apologize To Your Kids

Parenting //

When Christy and I decided to go into full time pastoral ministry there were a lot of things that made our heart race.  Some things were exciting like having the opportunity to lead people to a lifelong relationship with Christ.  Others came out of fear like speaking in public.  Then we had internal concerns like how do we lead our family, finances, and health in a way that will help us be a good example to the people we lead.

Our biggest concern was “How do we have a life that encourages our kids to love ministry just as much as we do?”  We had been around church long enough to see that most “PKs” (Pastors Kids) grow up to hate ministry…many of them even walk away from God altogether.  We decided early on that our kids were always going to be more important to us than any ministry I lead at the church.

I could write a whole series on times that I have failed at this since the day we made that choice.  There have been many.  Our kids love the church though.  One of our kids has already expressed a desire to be a pastor himself someday.  We include them in ministry and do our very best to help them develop the same passion for the lost that we have.

And when we mess up…we apologize to them.  Sincerely and honestly.  I think that is what is missing from so many Christian households.  Parents can very easily develop this mindset that “I am the parent and you are the child…I know whats best for you so just do what I tell you to.”  Asking questions is being disrespectful and wrestling with sin like we all do shouldn’t be tolerated.  Are mom and dad always right or are they capable of getting it wrong from time to time too?  When our kids know that we as parents make mistakes too and need forgiveness it helps them grow in their walk with Christ.  Here are some thoughts on what apologizing to your kids can do for your relationship with them.

  • Apologizing to your kids will help them see the need for a savior.  When mom and dad show that they need forgiveness from time to time then it helps your kids realize that EVERYONE needs forgiveness.
  • Apologizing to your kids shows them they have a voice.  When you show your kids that you listen if they feel you reacted wrongly it shows them that you listen to their concerns and don’t just dictate to them how they should be.
  • Apologizing to your kids helps them forgive others.  When you apologize to your kids you give them an opportunity to exercise forgiveness in their life.  When else do they have a better opportunity to do that?
  • Apologizing to your kids helps them to see when they are wrong.  When you apologize to your kids it models humility and repentance to them so when they are wrong they have seen the best way to handle it.

So next time you are wrong, be intentional about pulling your kids aside and apologizing.  It will really grow your relationship.

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About the Author

Joe McAlpine is the Pastor of Share at Northbrook Church. Northbrook is a growing church just outside of Milwaukee WI. He has been in ministry for over a decade, serving in staff leadership at churches ranging in attendance from 500 to 7,000. Prior to his current ministry, Joe had the privilege of leading the children’s ministry at Northview Church, the 5th fastest growing and 85th largest church in America in 2013. In 2009 he created www.joemcalpine.com, a website dedicated to helping leaders in next generation ministry grow spiritually, relationally and organizationally. Joe has a passion to help young leaders of next generation, family based ministries grow into seasoned ministry professionals oftomorrow. Joe lives out his passion for next generation leaders by tapping into his experience as a husband of one, father of four, pastor and life long lover of of learning. Joe has been happily married to his wife Christy for longer than he can remember and has four children, Elijah, Selah, David, and Elisabeth. The McAlpines are originally from the Chicago area. In his spare time you can find him hanging with the family and connecting with as many kidmin people as he can!