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Parenting advice that changed my life

By Alison Wood

Pint-sized Treasures

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 26 2014 12:40 p.m. MDT

Editor's note: This article by Alison Wood originally appeared on her blog, Pint-sized Treasures. It has been reprinted here with permission.

Discipline. Consistency. Training.

That was what all the books said I needed to do to be successful at parenting. But those books lacked the most important tip of all — winning your child’s heart.

After I became a mother, I sought the Lord for wisdom. Every. Single. Day. After a few years, I thought I had this mom thing down, but deep inside there was a bit of worry. This journey of motherhood was not an easy task, and there were no “Mom 101″ classes to be found.

I so desired to be the best mom ever. I did not want to make any parenting mistakes — but I certainly did.

Most of all, I wanted my kids to grow up to be amazing Christians who stood firm on their faith and didn’t budge.

After three kids, I soon became aware of the fact that many parents were not happy with how their kids turned out. After seeing so many kids grow up and turn away from the teachings of their parents, I became scared and fearful for my own kids’ futures. I also began searching. I needed some answers for my parenting journey before it was too late. Surely someone had an answer to this seeming epidemic of wayward children.

While traveling with my hubby and munchkins up north, I noticed a certain pastor’s family. All of his five children were now adults. What struck me about his family is that all five of those children were serving the Lord.

We were attending the church he pastored for special services and all of his adult children showed up — all five of them. They each had married and were now raising their own kids. I observed their marriages and their relationships with their kids. They all seemed happy and there was an obvious close-knit bond between parents and kids and even siblings. I decided I had to know the secret.

When the pastor’s wife was had some free time, I went to her privately and said, “I’m a young mom, and I need your wisdom. I want my kids to grow up to serve the Lord and have great marriages and family relationships. What do you think you did as a parent that helped make this happen in your kids' lives?”

She was so kind. She smiled and paused. After several quiet moments of deep thought she replied, “Alison, don’t worry. You are doing a great job with your kids. Keep it up, and don’t give up.”

After a few more moments, she continued to give me some mom-to-mom wisdom.

“We made God and church a priority,” she remarked. “We never went on vacations on Sundays, and our kids knew we would never skip church. We also prayed a lot for our kids.”

I thanked her for her advice and went home.

The next evening she brought her kids to me and said, “Alison, after thinking some more about your question, I thought it would be best to ask my kids. So here they are!”

Her daughter, who was already married with kids, told me this:

“My parents won my heart.”

Wow, those words struck a chord with me.

She went on to say that her parents always spent time with them. They took camping trips together and made loads of memories. The kids always felt like they were a priority in their parents' lives.

The timing of this advice was perfect. Just about two weeks before I met this family, my husband had pointed out a verse of scripture to me.

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