There are few parents—few parents reading this email anyway—who would not say this parenting thing was important to them. We identify as parents. We work at it.
But is that enough?
Jimmy Carter, once trying to step back and evaluate his relationship with his faith, asked: if I was tried for being a Christian, would I be convicted? It’s sort of a breathtaking question—imagine suddenly taking your word for it wasn’t enough. Imagine you were actually being investigated. What would the record show?
Thankfully, being a parent is a private affair, but what if suddenly you were famous or you were going through a divorce or suddenly you were on trial. What would the record show? Are you as committed as you say you are? Would the evidence be compelling? Or would it turn out that you talked a good game, but didn’t actually walk it? We said this before: What does your calendar say? Because it doesn’t lie.
Forget the pictures in the wallet. Forget how you all come together at Christmas or when people are over. Forget even what biology says or the adoption papers show or what your custodial rights are. What matters is what you do when no one is looking, what matters is how you love them day to day, what you sacrifice for them, what you do for them, how you’re there for them.
That’s what being a parent is.