As parents, we have some pretty tough moments. Some come across tougher decisions that we never thought would fall into our lap. Sometimes, things happen that are out of our control. If we have never said it, we have all heard it. “Life isn’t always fair.” Touché all of you generations that came before us. We sucked cause until we grew up, we just didn’t get it. But you knew that was going to happen too.
Before we became parents, we had a plan. Once it became reality, the plan became not to screw up. We have all done or said some not so great things during our parenting careers. Because no one is perfect. And the only guidebook we have is the Bible. To which, unfortunately, many don’t look to for answers.
Before we became parents, we thought we could look at another person who had kids and actually tell them or at least think we could tell them what they were doing wrong. “I will never spank my child” or “that child should not act that way in the store” or a favorite was/would be “If that was my kid….” Yeah, until we became parents someone should have punched us in the mouth, or the very least our backside. Cause we had NO CLUE.
I can safely say as a parent of three and step parent of two, most days I still don’t have a clue. What I do have is my heart. What I do have is God and his word and his instruction booklet. What I do have a wonderful group of women that I can turn to just to make sure I am doing the right thing. All of those will also tell me if I am doing it wrong. Parenting is different in everyone’s eyes. Thoughts and perceptions change. Sadly, some parents are carrying on the destructive form of parenting they endured as children, and are completely blind to it and in denial. The one thing that should not change is your love for the gift that God gave you. No matter how frustrated you get, how much you don’t understand, how many times you cry, and how many times you have to humble yourself before them, your love for them should never falter. Biological or not. Will you always agree. Hardly. But it’s up to you to set that example. Be the teacher, not the student in detention.
By that I mean don’t put yourself above them. Yes you are their parents, and in that form you are authority. But remember God is your authority. You are not above him so stay humble. Teach the Fruits of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Matthew 18:10 says “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in Heaven.” Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
It’s hard people. You other parents know I speak the truth. Probably one of the best things I have learned, even up to extremely recently, is that they are looking to us to show them the right way. They need consistency and grace and guidance and hugs and laughter and touch. Even if they seem like they don’t, truly I promise you they do.
What they don’t need is constant criticism. They don’t need to always be told they are doing it wrong, or it will work better our way. Sometimes, though our ego does not like it, they can come up with a better idea. Or at least one just as good. Being a child does not mean stupid, weak, obnoxious, rude, lazy, and the list goes on and on. Those words are cruel and can scar a child into adulthood. If you don’t want your child to be like these things, pray over them, set the example. Kids do more of what they see than of what they hear you say. Not saying they don’t listen. But if all they hear is negative mean comments being said in anger and gritted teeth and pointed fingers, what part of that do you think is going to remain in their brain? That is the seed you are planting. As a parent that is most definitely the plant I want to be feeding.
If you are stuck-find someone to talk to. Reach out to parenting communities and get advice. It doesn’t make you a bad parent or a stupid parent. It makes you a proactive one and smart one. It means you are not being selfish. Your best interest is in the blessing you have been given. Don’t destroy a child because you think they should just “know.”
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Mark 9:37 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”
Matthew 7:1 “Do not judge and criticize and condemn(others unfairly with an attitude of self-righteous superiority as though assuming the office of a judge), so that you will not be judged(unfairly).”
We must learn what our job is as parents. We must be willing to be humble. We must encourage our babies not tear them down. We are called to help advance The Kingdom. We can’t do that with success if we are not preparing the ones we have been given to continue the job once we are gone.