When Parenting Isnt Perfect (Paperback)Jim Daly
Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, has learned that perfection is the enemy of parenting. For years, Daly has seen and heard from mothers and fathers trying hard to pursue perfection.They listen to the best experts and read all the right books. And they want their children to pursue perfection too.
Daly believes that every parent's quest for perfection, a quest that is particularly strong among Christians, runs counter to God's boundless gift of grace.
Jim Daly is the president and CEO of Focus on the Family. Daly has received the 2008 World Children's Center Humanitarian Award and the 2009 Children's Hunger Fund Children's Champion Award. He has appeared on such television programs as ABC "World News Tonight" and PBS' "Religion & Ethics"; and been featured in Time, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today and Newsweek, which named him one of the top 10 next-generation evangelical leaders of influence. Daly and his wife have two sons and reside in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Size140 x 213 mm
Number of Pages208 pp
PublisherZondervan Publishing House
Chapter 1: Not Good Enough
It's funny that we slip into the trap—that we're all working toward perfection. We put so
much pressure on ourselves and our families, even though that very pressure is contrary to what
Jesus talked about. We think that living a good Christian life is living a sinless life. We try so
hard to be righteous when Jesus has already told us, You’re not going to make it. That’s why I
died for you.
Yes, Jesus died for us, but we're all still keeping score. We’re living the life of a good
Pharisee. It's like we're not reading our Bibles. Or if we are reading them, we're not paying close
enough attention to apply it to our lives. How many verses talk about our weaknesses and God's
strength? How we can't be perfect? How the grace of God is our only hope?
We're weak. Our families are imperfect. And yes, by our pharisaical standards, we're not
And God says that's OK. In our weakness, His power is made perfect.
Not Good Enough
Casey was 19 when she got pregnant.
She came from a good Christian home. Books by all the best Christian parenting experts
lined her parents’ shelves. Movies and music were strictly monitored. The whole family ate at
the dining room table every night, and she and her mother read the Bible every morning.
She went off to college—a Christian college—with a sky-high GPA and a strong SAT
score. When her parents dropped her off at the dorm, they all cried a little. “You’re going to do
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great things here, honey,” her father told her. “Great things.” And Casey hoped he was right. She
would do her best to make him proud.
And then she fell in love. Doug was an English major with the same backstory: Good
family, high aspirations, solid faith.
They had sex anyway. And all the lessons Casey learned, all the guilt and shame she felt
after every tryst, wasn’t enough to convince her to stop.
She missed her period the spring of her sophomore year. After two weeks, she and Doug
walked to a nearby pregnancy center, not telling a soul. The test showed positive.
To Casey, it seemed like the air went cold. She could feel Doug’s hand in hers, slick with
“Are you sure?” Doug asked, but of course the clinician was. And with a smile meant to
be gentle, she handed them some pamphlets—options, she said.
They walked back to Doug’s apartment in silence. As soon as the door was closed, Casey
began to cry. Doug did, too. They hadn’t planned on this, this thing happening to them. Casey
was still bringing home straight A’s. Doug had hoped that, after graduation, he’d be able to
travel some—walk across Europe with a couple of friends, maybe, or start on his first book. But
now, their future was broken before it even began. They were scared: Scared for themselves,
scared of what the baby might mean, scared about what kind of parents they’d be.
But above all that fear, they were scared of what their parents would say.
Through the tears, the two began to talk. Abortion wasn’t an option for either of them:
This wasn’t something they could just wipe away. And Casey just couldn’t imagine giving the
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child up for adoption. Casey was determined to keep it—even though it meant talking with her
mom and dad. The parents she loved as much as anyone in the world. The parents who thought
she could do no wrong.
Doug smiled, squeezed her hand and walked into his tiny kitchen. Casey heard him open
a drawer. When he returned, he was carrying a tiny twist-tie, made into a ring. He bent down on
one knee and took her hand. “Will you marry me?” He said. Casey nodded furiously, smiling as
she cried some more.
But with that decision made, they couldn’t put off the hardest part of this incredibly hard
Casey pulled out her phone and called home.
“Hello?” Her mother said on the other end.
“Casey!” Her mother said. “Hold on, let me get your father.” Casey imagined her mother
putting the receiver against her chest, close to her heart. She heard a muffled call. In a moment,
she heard an extension pick up, and then her dad’s voice.
“Hey!” he said. “What’s up, honey?”
Casey closed her eyes and said a quick, wordless, prayer. She swallowed hard and began.
“I’ve got something to tell you. Something hard.”
She could almost hear her parents’ breath catch in that momentary pause.
“Honey,” Mom said. “What is it?”
“Mom,” Casey said, the pitch of her voice rising as she began crying yet again, “I’m
going to have a baby.”
Then, “Oh, God.” Her mother. She was crying softly through the phone now, a sound
Casey had heard just once before, when her grandfather died. And she heard, on the other
extension, the ragged breath of her father, growing louder.
Finally, he spoke.
“We’re so disappointed in you, Casey,” he said. “We’re so disappointed in you.”
He hung up.