Every parent feels some sympathy for their kids when they go through awkward phases. But how many of us thought that parenting itself would be awkward?

A friend and colleague of mine, Jeff Brodie, tells parents they need to have the courage to do the awkward thing. I love that thought. There are probably few of us who aspire to be awkward. Weren’t we all going to be the cool parents—the ones who were up on all the current trends and never embarrassed our kids?

One of the strongest memories I have of my teen years involved a short, awkward conversation. My dad came up to my bedroom one night when I was 15 and asked me, “Son, how’s your devotional life going?” Under my breath I thought, Oh my goodness, what kind of dad asks a question like that?

I mustered out a “Fine” (which was completely not true), and then asked him if there was anything else he wanted. And that was the end of the conversation.

I’m sure my dad went to bed that night feeling dejected and defeated as a dad. But it was such a pivotal question for me. Thirty years later, I’m so thankful he asked it. That single awkward moment was a step in my journey to recommitting my life to Christ a few years down the road.

If you are going to parent well, you will have moments when you will need to parent awkwardly.

I know, as parents, my wife and I have done some very awkward things:

We banned our kids from watching the TV show Arthur because our sons were treating each other poorly (they still laugh and roll their eyes at that).

We force conversations when we’re not 100 percent sure we’re getting the real story.

I’ve read the Bible with them in seasons where they have clearly wanted to do other things.

I’ve asked them both how their devotional life is going. (They are actually far more open to the question than I was as a teen).

I’m not saying all our moments as parents need to be awkward. In fact, we have had many more times that were natural and comfortable. But you will need those awkward moments. If you wait for your kids to be the leaders in every area, you’ve reversed the roles of parent and child. You will need to risk some peace to make some progress.

Are you afraid of being awkward? What’s been your most memorable awkward moment so far?