If you are a parent, you might wonder if you are doing everything right. You may feel lost or like you’re making it up as you go along. You may even ask yourself, “Am I ruining my kids?”
On a recent episode of Summer Shepherd’s No Seriously, How Do I Do This? podcast, the members of the popular Christian band MercyMe—known for record-breaking songs like “I Can Only Imagine”—share what it was like to raise their children. Summer asks the tough questions, curious to see if they regret choices they’ve made as parents and if they would redo a thing or two if given the chance.
Summer, who has four young children of her own, sometimes worries she won’t know what to do as her children get older. Huddled in a crowded Orlando hotel room, MercyMe’s Bart Millard and Nate Cochran shared some words of wisdom to comfort her fears.
Bart, who’s been married for over 20 years, has five kids. His oldest child is 20, and his youngest is 11 years old. Nate also has five kids, the oldest being his almost 20-year-old son, and his youngest being only six years old.
Bart reflected, “Everything you pour into them at a young age is going to reveal itself when they start thinking for themselves and getting close to being adults.… There are days when I’m happy to let go and days … you lose sleep over.”
One of those worrisome days occurred when Bart’s oldest son, Sam, was about to board a plane and join the band on tour. All of a sudden, Sam, who has type 1 diabetes, suffered a seizure in the airport while he was away from the group. Bart sometimes worries there will be a day when he won’t be there for his son, but he learned he needs to let go of worry and trust God to care for Sam.
Trusting the Lord to watch over our kids doesn’t mean that we completely step away as our children reach adulthood. Nate wants to continually set an example for his kids and be with them through every phase of life. He takes inspiration from his own parents, who still give him advice, even at age 44, and reach out to let him know that they have experienced exactly what he’s going through.
Now, he gets to watch his kids forge their own paths. Nate has come to peace with his kids leaving the nest—as long as they know they can always come back. He shared a powerful sentiment for parents to pass on to their kids: “‘Look, we probably didn’t get all of this right, but I want you to at least trust us. Not that we’re always going to get it right. Trust us that, yes, we do love you, and when you go, you have somewhere to come back to.’”
After a lot of laughs and some great discussion about the joys and frustrations of raising kids, Summer asked if there was anything Bart and Nate wished they had done differently.
For Bart, growing up with a dad who struggled with anger deeply impacted how he parents. Fearful he might become like his father, he’s tried his best to control his temper and make sure his kids appreciate all they have. When he does get frustrated, he often realizes that the problems he has with his kids stem from himself. This struggle is powerfully represented in MercyMe’s movie, I Can Only Imagine, which released in 2018.
Although he has regrets, Bart realizes that everything turned out just fine. He said that it doesn’t matter if your parents are the most amazing and faithful people who did everything right. The world is a broken place, and we are broken people who all need God’s love and forgiveness.
Bart Millard shared: “The best advice I was ever given was … if you’re worried whether you’re a good parent or not, the odds are, you’re a good parent. Because there are a lot of people where it just doesn’t cross their minds.”
To hear more of this honest conversation from Bart, Nate, and Summer about what it means to raise godly kids in an imperfect world, listen to this episode of the No Seriously, How Do I Do This? podcast. For sneak peeks and updates about new episodes, follow the No Seriously, How Do I Do This? podcast on Facebook!