Updated: Dec 22, 2020
I loved this post so much that I borrowed it from my co-collaborator Allison Dayton's LIft+Love Instagram story. I think it resonated with so many parents because I believe we all share the desire to be the “best” parent to our children.
Being “the best” parent when you have an LDS gay child can sometimes feel like you are walking on a high wire. There is no manual and there are very few examples of how other LDS families have done this successfully.
You are often unsure about what steps to take and you feel like with each new step you might make a wrong step and have a serious fall. Parenting an LDS LGBTQ child can feel overwhelming, heavy, and very lonely.
I have walked this high wire for over 8 years. From my struggles, I have had great growth. I have become an LCS Certified Life Coach to help other families walk this journey. I believe all LDS parents who have been blessed with an LGBTQ child can become their child’s “best" gay parent.
My son (Nicholas) and I, recently talked with Allison Dayton from LIft+Love about our family's journey with him being gay and LDS. If you would like to watch it - click on the video below.
For the next couple of weeks, I will share with you each week in-depth lessons I’ve learned in hopes your journey won’t feel so overwhelming and lonely.
The first lesson to being the “best" gay parent is to question what does being a good parent mean?
We all have beliefs on what a good parent means and most of the time we use this ideal to judge how we are personally doing and in that judgment, we usually aren't very compassionate with ourselves.
We spend so much time in the judgment of ourselves that we seldom stop to question how we even came up with the belief on how we are judging ourselves. Instead of judging ourselves, it would serve us better to question what we believe makes a parent good.
Our beliefs come from our life-experience and society. These experiences imprint on us a belief on what a good parent is. But everybody has a different answer for what is a good parent, so being a good parent is subjective and it is a story we choose to tell ourselves. Does the story you are telling yourself on what makes a good parent currently serve you? Who decides what a good parent is, you do!
When I had envisioned being a mom I had never thought being a good parent was driving an hour away to meet a new boy my son wanted to date who he had met online – but at that moment that was me showing up as the “best” gay parent.
I love the story that Tom Christofferson tells in his book That We May Be One about an experience he had with his father. It was during a period where Tom was not active in the church and he had become quite interested in different wines. He was out to dinner with his parents and he said for over an hour his father had asked him extensive questions about wines. Tom said he knew his father didn’t drink wine or was ever going to drink wine but because wine was important to Tom, it was important to his father. He said his father showing that level of interest in his life made him feel important and loved.
I’m sure Tom's dad wasn’t thrilled that his son was drinking wine but he was able to put his fears and judgment aside to focus on loving his son where he was at. Talking to Tom about wine was his father's way of showing up as the "best" gay dad. The good he did for his relationship with his son by talking to his son about his interests vs. the damage he could have done by spending that hour lecturing Tom on the dangers of not following the Word of Wisdom was not lost on Tom. Tom felt like his father valued him and his life. How we make our children feel when they are with us, will always be more impactful than the words we say to them.
There is no one-way to the “best” gay parent. There is no handbook on how to do it perfectly. Just like with any other parenting issue (i.e., eating healthy, potty training, discipline) there are a lot of opinions and advice –but is up to you to figure out what works best for your child and your family. What was right for our situation might not be right for your situation.
So how do you figure out how to be the "best" gay parent for your child when you don't know what to do? I have found that on decisions that I didn't know where to start that I needed to get on my knees and start talking to the Lord. Whenever I didn’t know what was the next best step is when I turned it over to the Lord and He has always taught me.
He has never left me alone in my hour of need, he always speaks to my heart and is constantly teaching me how to be the “best” gay parent to my son. The more open I am to hearing and questioning is where I have found peace. In this peaceful space, I have gained the confidence that I am doing the Lord's work.
Making the Lord your co-parent also helps with judgment. Knowing that I have spent time investing in getting the Lord's wisdom helps me stop worrying about what others will think of my parenting decisions. People will always have opinions but when you are confident in your actions, their opinions affect you less.
I testify to you that The Lord wants to be in the details of our lives and our children’s. It is our job to stay humble and teachable so we can receive the Lord’s wisdom. He is there waiting for us to seek Him.
I am not a perfect mom but I am the "best" gay mom for my son. In fact, I have not met a perfect mom but I have met a lot of moms who are perfect for their children. I have met so many amazing parents who have been blessed with an LGBTQ child, that it has taught me that the Lord has a plan for these amazing spirits.
Wanting to be the "best" gay parent is a unique journey that becomes a lot easier when we support and love each other. Please reach out if you have any questions about your journey. It has been one of my greatest pleasures in life to help other families through this amazing journey. If you would like specific help on your journey it would be my honor to talk to you, please reach out at: