Betsy Hart

7. The world wants us parents to be our children's "friends." But the wise parent knows that to be a child's advocate, to be on our child's side, means we have to care less about whether our children like us when they are 13 than when they are 30. And that to really be our child's advocate, we need to pray for our kids and wisdom in parenting them.

This list is hardly exhaustive. But whatever we decide are going to be the essential habits of our home, we parents have to persevere in the moment, even when we don't see the fruits of our perseverance in the moment. Parenting is like waves washing over a rock. You think the water is having no impact at all on the rough stone, but then one day, it's almost suddenly clear that the rock is smooth right where the waves have been washing over it all those years. So, too, it can be when it comes to the work of a parent in shaping the heart of his child.

As a dear friend recently reminded me, when it comes to parenting our children the days are so long _ but the years are so short! And so what a blessing it is to our children when we parents have as our aim for them Heaven, not Harvard.

Betsy Hart

Betsy Hart is a nationally syndicated columnist for the Scripps Howard News Service. Her column on cultural and family issues, “From the Hart,” is distributed each week to hundreds of newspapers cross the country. Betsy’s first book, "It Takes a Parent: How the Culture of Pushover Parenting is Hurting out Kids – and What to do About It," was released in September, 2005, and was a top seller for its publisher, Putnam Books.