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Sunday, April 10, 2011

On Parenting

I love my kiddos. But sometimes I’m so busy correcting their mistakes and handling the business of getting things done that the message doesn’t get across.

And I don’t mean just saying the words. I do say the words. I mean showing them that I love them unconditionally.

That the spilt milk doesn’t make me love them less.

That the Lego stepped on in the middle of the night doesn’t have an impact on my heart, just my foot.

That even if they never master the times tables, I’m still proud to be their Mama.

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Catch them being good”. I’m talking about something deeper than that. I’m talking about knowing them, and knowing them to be good. We are not the sum of our actions. We don’t always wear our intentions on our sleeves.

God knows this. He knows each of us through and through. He knows every thought, every dream, every intention, every particle of me. And He accepts me and loves me and forgives my transgressions. And He does this for every one of us.

He sent His son to us to show us how it’s done.

And He gave us each our own parents to show us His love.

Parenting our children isn’t just about correcting them and molding them, although that’s an important part of it.

It’s not just about providing for their physical needs, although food, clothing, and shelter are necessities for life and things that every parent must provide.

God gave children parents for a reason. He could have done things very differently. He could have planted us each here on earth, full-grown and capable of taking care of ourselves with the resources at hand. Think of Adam and Eve.

He didn’t do that. He gave us each one mother and one father (in the natural scheme of things). He created a 9-month long gestation period. He made us totally dependent on our parents the first part of our lives.

He makes parents fall in love with our children (though many resist this and deny it). And children fall in love with their parents (have you ever had your son tell you you’re the prettiest lady in the world? It’s a wonderful feeling!).

Why? I believe that God wants each of us to have someone here on Earth who knows us through and through (as much as is humanly possible), just at He knows us through and through. Someone who knows our hopes, our dreams, our intentions, our strengths, our weaknesses, our failings, our successes, knows it all, and treasures us for it. Someone who will guide us, nurture us, and support us through our earthly trials.

Someone who will pray for us, even when we won’t pray for ourselves.

Someone who’s willing to die for us.

And we don’t even have to ask.

How truly awesome is that?

He knows we won’t ask. Even a 2-year-old thinks she can do it herself. She tries and tries and tries to buckle her own 5-point-harness while Mama looks on (her back in the rain), waiting. Mama knows that her little one can’t do it alone. She has a lifetime of experience that tells her this.

But that little one, she has a can do attitude. She just knows she can do it. So she tries and tries, refusing all help. And Mama patiently waits (hopefully not complaining too much about getting wet or being late getting the middle child to PE class, ahem) until the little one realizes she really can’t do it and needs Mama’s help.

She has her whole childhood to learn, with her Mama’s gentle help and guidance, that she really does need help. She needs God’s help. In the meantime, Mama is the safety net, the flesh-and-blood guardian God has put in charge of this sweet child.

Along the way, the mother and father will teach the child about loving God.

And the child will teach the mother and father how to be more like Christ.

It’s so simple and yet so complex, and it’s all a part of God’s plan.

It’s funny how in our earthly wisdom we often think we are working with God’s plan and yet we are doing our best to foil it.

When I focus too much on correcting my children’s mistakes (and correction is a necessary, good part of parenthood), I tend to turn my back on the relationship. Instead of it being about the relationship and coming closer to God together, it becomes me showing someone else how they are wrong. Me passing judgment. Me doling out punishment. Me showing them how they are not close to God.

If I turn my back on having a true relationship with my child, we both miss out on a part of God’s wonderful plan for us.

I don’t know about you, but I know I could certainly use some work in this area.

What do you do to nurture your relationship with your kiddos?

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3 comments:

  1. I'm wiping a tear. Thank you for the reminder. This IS a hard stage. HUGS!

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  2. I loved this post! It really touched my heart. Sometimes, especially lately, I feel like I have really slacked in the relationship area with my daughter. I've been busy and have not made enough time to look her in her beautiful eyes and give her my complete undivided attention for more than a few seconds at a time. I know that very soon I will look back to where we are now and think how I should have just cherished those moments more. I do cherish them just not as much as I should. Thanks for the reminder! Our best bonding time, in my opinion, is when we are just laying in my bed talking or laughing. It's funny how at least at her age (7) they are always open to bonding. They crave it and would take as much one-on-one time as you would give them. They are the ones reaching out and we are the only ones who limit that relationship.

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  3. Leila,
    I agree. Children of all ages naturally crave being close to Mama and Daddy. I think God made them that way, and it's a good thing. I think most parents could probably work on this (at least going from my own foggy memories of childhood).

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