In Support of Unintentional Parenting

Being intentional as a parent is huge these days, but I think some of the best parenting is done unintentionally. Today is Father’s Day so I want to say thank you to my dad for everything he taught me unintentionally.

My dad didn’t intentionally teach me to be passionate about life. He simply always has been a passionate man. Maybe it was his passing fancies of boating, snowmobiling, disco, or sci-fi. Or more importantly, his long standing passion for God, my mom, our family, and our local church. It was – is – just who he is. There was never a moment when my dad took ten weeks of family worship to teach us about these things. He never read us biographies of people who did amazing things for God. He just doesn’t have a passive, neutral bone in his body, and that has been naturally compelling.

My dad didn’t intentionally teach me how to think and communicate what I was thinking. He just doesn’t know how to do small talk. He loves to ask deep and probing questions. He wouldn’t sit down with his planner on Sunday evening and think through important conversations to have with us kids. He just naturally wanted to know what we thought about different things. He never thought we were too stupid to wrestle through difficult doctrines (even one she was wrestling through) or debate about family rules. My dad is great thinker. He asks questions. He listens to our answers. He isn’t being intentional. He is being himself.

My dad didn’t intentionally look for evidences of grace in my life. He simply sees me through rose colored glasses. He would deny this. My dad sees me like no one else sees me. He is genuinely proud of the woman I’ve become. He thinks I’m a great mom. He thinks I am so talented. He has always thought I was beautiful… Simply stunned that anyone would have viewed me as awkward as a child! He has no idea that in viewing me this way he has been the very grace of God to me. He has balanced the yuck that I see oh so clearly with the commendations of a loving father who sees grace more than sin. Victory more than failure.

As far as I know, my dad never read a parenting book. I’m sure my mom read plenty and filled him in on the basic principles. What my dad did well was live authentically. (Yes, just as buzz-wordy as being intentional, but I don’t know how else to put it!) He did, accidentally, what a thousand parenting books could never teach. He passed on a passionate love for God and others. He taught how to think deeply about things that matter, and to love to communicate about these things. He taught that grace truly loves and enjoys people whether or not they perform well.

Thank you dad, for unintentionally being the best dad I know. No exaggeration. I love you and will always thank God for His profound blessing on my life in having you as a dad.

Happy Father’s Day!

One thought on “In Support of Unintentional Parenting

  1. Very nice tribute to your dad. For those of us that know him as pastor, and master of the 3point alliterated outline, it is somewhat surprising to think of that engineering mind doing anything unintentionally. But it’s also obvious that those things you mention come from the very core of who he is in Christ. Thanks for sharing it.

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