“Today’s guest is Pete Enns, who is also, the father of last week’s guest Elizabeth Petters! Professor of Biblical Studies at Eastern University in Pennsylvania, Pete holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University and Pete has taught undergraduate, seminary, and doctoral courses at numerous other schools throughout his career. He speaks and writes regularly to diverse audiences about the intersection of the ancient setting of Bible and contemporary Christian faith. He is also the host of the popular podcast The Bible for Normal People, blogs, and has written, edited, and contributed to over 20 books, including the most recent ones listed to the right of the page. Although his academic and professional accomplishments are totally noteworthy, I think what you will find most interesting about our conversation today is the role parenting played in developing him in all aspects of his life. 

If you’re a new parent, or an empty nester, you’re going to love this episode.  He walks us through some of his early parenting struggles as a young father, and how his unresolved issues affected the relationship with his daughter, Liz. He admits to misunderstanding some of her struggles as disobedience because he simply didn’t have the language for it.  Pete goes into detail about the things he wishes he would have done differently for her and his other two children as well. I love his honesty in saying it took him awhile to realize he may be a part of the problems his daughter was facing, and he shows us how things can end very, very well if we are just willing to work through the hard stuff and face our pain head on.

We talk about the role fear plays in parenting and how easy it is to transfer our own insecurities onto our children, or place unrealistic expectations on them because we are unwilling to address our own issues. Pete begs the question that instead of being terrified that our children may fail because of us, maybe our job is more about learning to LET them fail and loving them along the way. He shares a distinct moment in his parenting journey when Liz looked at him and said, “You’ve got to stop putting me in situations I can’t handle. Just ease your own anxiety.” It’s a powerful moment and one that sheds a lot of light on the impact we have in our children’s lives, both positively and negatively. We talk a lot about family, and how we get to know ourselves better by dealing with other humans, especially our family.  Pete says, “Self knowledge is a beautiful thing, and you know, as good theologians will tell us, knowledge of God and knowledge of self are intertwined.” How true is that!

Pete reminds us to not doubt our own instincts, be present in the moment, and simply do what we need to do! Pete shares how community, professional help and not trying to walk through their parenting struggles alone helped him and his wife, Sue, navigate the ups and downs in their journey. He encourages us to never let shame get in the way of inviting others in, because doing it alone is the worst thing you can do. He is a huge encouragement for anyone stepping into the parenting path, and does a great job reminding us it’s all going to be ok. I believe you will want to live less out of fear and more out of love after listening to this episode. 

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