There’s no manual when it comes to parenting. I believe most of us do the best we know to do based off life experiences coupled with what we’ve learned. However, I must admit that somewhere along the way things have went wrong. Unfortunately, I way to often, hear parents taking up for their kids when they’re wrong, excusing disrespectful behavior, allowing children to talk back rudely and allowing children to ignore them or walk off.
The Word tells us that children are a blessing from God and our job is to train them up so they’ll know how to live. Training, support, admonishment and discipline are required. I’ll never forget when our son became a teenager. Overnight, his harmones were all over the place, his voice deepened, he was almost my height and according to him, knew more than anyone. As I was speaking to him, he began to mumble under his breath and walk up on me. Before I knew I had him by his shirt, pulled us face to face, and through gritted teeth reiterated how I was to be treated as his mother. Needless to say, that never happened again BUT no one prepared me for the day that my gentle giant would temporarily lose his good senses. 🤔🤷🏾♀️
Later, we were blessed with a daughter, who acts a lot like me and her grandmother rolled into one therefore she is strong-willed and opinionated. I have to constantly remind her of my expectations and I will not waiver. Just last night, she was arguing with her brother when he was actually trying to share with her. I quickly pulled over, explained to her my expectations (again) and then reminded her what gratitude sounds like, looks like and feels like. She quickly adjusted and by the time we made it home, all was well. I do not want for them to think it is okay to send mixed messages. If we are grateful, then act we act like it. When we love, we show it. And love should never look like or sound like hate. Even when I admonish, we talk about what happened and why and we go to bed every night by saying our prayers, hugging one another and saying that we love each other. I want the kids to know that we shouldn’t ever go to bed upset. Our love trumps any other emotion that we experienced that day.
Some people think I am hard on the kids, while strict, rigid parents think I am too soft. In order to spare their lives, I must teach, give guidelines, expectations, reinforce, admonish and discipline. I have conversations with them, respect and encourage their opinions when appropriate. They are the children and some things are non negotiable. I, along with their father, are laying the foundation. There are rules/laws in life and they are expected to follow them. They know there are consequences when they don’t obey and that consequences are coming. Sometimes, I am so exhausted that I may not follow up until the next day BUT I follow up. Recently, I received 3 compliments on how mannerable the kids are and it warmed my heart. A compliment can go a long way and it surely warmed my heart. Compliments validate the work we’ve been doing though I would keep working without them. Affirmations can a long way also. I speak affirmations over the kids and to the kids so they’ll know who I expect them to be is who they are.
They are purposed.
They are intelligent.
They are uniquely, beautifully made.
They are respectful, humbled and kind.
They are leaders who lead with integrity.
They are talented.
They have good hearts.
They help others because that’s what we are called to do.
They are hard workers – working to please the Lord and not humans.
They are planting good seeds and their legacy will exceed mine.
They are loving and loved more than they could ever imagine.
They are blessed and favored. I could keep going but I’ll stop here.
Over the years, I’ve sat up late, like now, I’ve cried, I’ve allowed my thoughts to run in circles with worry and I’ve prayed that hopefully, I’m parenting well. Thankfully, I do more praying now. Parenting is not easy but it sure is rewarding. It is a blessing that exceeds anything I ever thought of in life. When God allowed me to be their Mama, He exceeded any expectation or dream. In my home, we do more talking and laughing than anything BUT every now and then I find myself doing more fussing, even when fussing is not needed. In those moments, I know I need to step away and decompress, bracket my feelings from the job or whoever has me worked up. I remember that they are my blessings then apologize to the kids and get back to living.
By no means am I perfect but I am determined to show my kids love through actions and words. So many people have overused and tarnished that word. A reference manual would have been nice but I’ve learned to lean on my life’s manual. I am reminded in the Word that:
love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.The Holy Bible
I am also reminded that we overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and word of our testimony. The power of the testimony is how we do better, that’s why I share. Iron sharpens iron. We will mess up, we will be uncertain, we will learn and most importantly we must share our experiences with others who are going through similar situations. I’ve learned to ask God for strength and wisdom and He gives it to me…then I tell others.
Stay encouraged. May God’s peace and grace be with you as we keep pressing forward.