Home & Leisure

No Such Thing As A Perfect Parent

Jim Daly on

Q: I try to be consistent with my kids. But there are days when I just don't have the patience with them that I should or give them the attention they deserve. It makes me feel like a total failure as a parent. I'm afraid I'm going to mess things up and lose my connection with them by the time they're grown.

Jim: I think every parent can identify with you -- I sure can! But that's one reason I love this time of year. Spring is all about renewal. Warm weather is coming, the days are getting longer, the flowers are rising from the dirt. And we celebrate Easter, which in my worldview is all about God reaching down and offering humanity a second chance.

Parents know that second chances are a part of everyday life. We struggle and strive to help our children do the right thing. But they still fall short of the mark. When they do, it's our job to help them get back up, dust themselves off and try again. If they've been disobedient, they might need appropriate correction to get them back on track. Other times, our kids simply need a hug and a word of encouragement to do better next time. Either way, it's all about extending grace and forgiveness.

Here's the thing: As moms and dads, you and I also need that grace and forgiveness from our children! There's no such thing as a perfect parent. Sometimes -- maybe often -- we make mistakes. We lose our temper. We fail to make time for our kids. We accuse them of something they didn't do. Thankfully, children are resilient. If we're honest and humble when we mess up, they're usually happy to run back into our arms and forgive us.

In a loving family -- your household as well as the family of God -- there's always room for second chances. And thirds. And fourths.

Q: My boyfriend and I have been dating for a while. I think he'd be a good husband, but I'm not sure he's my "soul mate." Should I just move on and keep looking?

Dr. Greg Smalley, Vice President, Marriage & Family Formation: Before you decide one way or another, let me emphasize this: "Soul mates" aren't found, they're formed over time.

I'm reminded of an interesting documentary produced by David Block, a wedding videographer. He wanted to see how couples whose nuptials he had filmed were faring after a few years. Block's conclusion was that the Hollywood-fueled notion of the "soul mate" -- the idea that there's one person out there just for you -- is a myth. In his words: "A lot of marriage is coming to terms with the imperfect person you're living with and acknowledging you're not a perfect person either."


The point is that we're all flawed people prone to selfish impulses. That's why relationships -- and especially marriage -- can be so challenging at times. No one "clicks" with another effortlessly; it takes hard work to love our spouses through the good and the ugly. So when (not if) you encounter differences in your relationship, don't assume your significant other isn't your soul mate. Disagreements should be addressed with the understanding that we're all prone to selfishness.

Only by going through that tough process can a couple create the true intimacy of marriage. So, remember: Soul mates aren't found, they're formed over time through sacrifice and enduring love. Marriage isn't about finding the right person -- it's about two people both trying to be the right person. When you identify someone with whom you can mutually commit to that dynamic, they just might be "the match."

I highly recommend our online community for young adults; see


Jim Daly is a husband and father, an author, and president of Focus on the Family and host of the Focus on the Family radio program. Catch up with him at or at

Copyright 2024 Focus On The Family. (This feature may not by reproduced or distributed electronically, in print or otherwise without written permission of Focus on the Family.)

COPYRIGHT 2024 Andrews McMeel Syndication. This feature may not be reproduced or distributed electronically, in print or otherwise without the written permission of Andrews McMeel Syndication.




Steve Kelley John Deering Peanuts Mother Goose & Grimm John Branch John Cole