I can't emphasize this enough. Proverbs 27 says:
Iron sharpeneth iron; so man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
(Prov. 27:17)
If I am not involved with my children, I have no idea what is going on in their lives. My conversation with them would then become very shallow, with me asking some question like, "How did school go?" I will have no idea if I don't even know what subjects they are taking.

I wonder how many parents do that. The conversation might go something like this:

"How did it go today?" the parent asks.

"Pretty good," the child responds.

The conversation quickly ends with the parent saying simply, "That's good."

Parents like this don't have any idea what their kids are doing, what subjects they are taking, which teachers they have or who their friends are.

Every year being involved in the basketball games at our Christian school, I have noticed that 80 percent of the parents don't show up for any of those games. To them, basketball time means "dump and run."

It's a time when they can dump their kids and then run in some other direction. They go out to eat, or go to the mall and shop, or go home and spend some time alone.

It's like the TV commercial that says, "You pay now—you pay later." Parents who act like this will pay for it eventually.

I believe we have had as close a relationship with some of our high-school kids as they have with their own parents because Denise and I are at so many of their ball games. If I am in town, I will be there. The kids can depend on me.

Whenever parents don't have time for their kids, it will eventually cost them.

I can talk to my kids about serious things because they know I love them. As Jesus said, "I know you love Me because you do what I say" (John 14:23). My kids know when I am at their ball games or other activities. I know when they are strong and when they are weak. I go to encourage them, and they know it.

Even if I am out of town, I can call home and ask my daughter, "How did the game go tonight?"

If she says it didn't go so good. I don't respond by saying, "Well, honey, just try harder. You just hang in there now." Instead, I say, "Tell me what happened."

Denise has said to me many times, "You know, the most important thing we have done as parents is to have been there for our children."

Despite numerous mistakes, the best thing we have ever done was to just plainly be there for them; if not physically, they knew we were there mentally.

When I talk to my kids, I am a normal parent; but because we have a relationship, I can get specific. As the Scripture says, I am like iron sharpening iron. By being specific I am helping them, and they know that. I am not just flapping my gums and blowing air. I know my children. I try to know where their weaknesses are, and I try to point out their strengths too.

I know where my children are weak and I know how to sharpen them, so they are getting better. But if I never spent time with them, I wouldn't really know them. The same is true with my wife. If I didn't spend time with her, I wouldn't know her either.

Even after 25 years of marriage, I still spend time getting to know her.

Relationship is the key. You really can't practice stewardship until you have established relationship.

Source: God Knows How To Raise Your Kids
Even If You Don't
by Joe McGee
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers