My mom never said there’d be days like this, days as a mom when I’d have to choose between the urgent and the important. The days when I would wake in the morning to busy little guys who’s mission it was to climb into the refrigerator for a snack, chew the basement television cord, or tear apart a siblings treasures. Or the days when I’d have to care for my own flu-like illness and still manage the household from the recliner in my office. I don’t remember her dealing with dog vomit on her bed sheets, items up a nose, or how she managed our household while she juggled her home business schedule. She made it look so easy.
We ate mostaccioli at least once a week with a day for leftovers–I dreaded it and complained. Little did I know she did the best she could within her budget, within her energy level, and by God’s grace. I don’t remember her complaining, but maybe the occasions when she felt overwhelmed and irritated with our self-centeredness. We were a self-centered bunch for sure. We wanted our sugared cereal, our new school clothes, weekly sleepovers, and our lunch bag filled with more than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for the third day in a row.
We three girls wasted shower water, hairspray, make-up, and don’t even get me started on the toilet paper and paper towels. We took for granted what our father and mother worked so hard for and we never comprehended it. We took all they gave and more–because they let us and because our god wasn’t a selfless or loving god. We worshipped ourselves and couldn’t get enough. We were taught to say thank you but we did it out of obligation rather than a thankful heart. On the outside we were clean, well dressed, and mannered but on the inside we were ungrateful, uncaring, and angry. We looked to our own interests instead of the interests of others–we needed boundaries and guidance.
Do you ever feel taken for granted or alarmed as a parent? Let me tell you, I can relate. For over twenty-two years, I’ve parented little ones who don’t consider anyone else’s needs or wants other than their own. It’s tempting as a parent to just give in and grow tired after that many years of parenting, but I’m here to say embracing that idea mustn’t be an option. My kids, as was I, are bent towards destruction. They don’t know how to think things through, consider the natural consequences before leaping, think about the effect of their choices on another person, how to share their feelings before they morph into a destructive action, or feel grateful. All of those things come from investing the time, attention, prayer, example, and training our kid’s need.
So, do you need daily help like I do? I’ve heard the old saying that God didn’t give us a manual when he gave us our kids and that’s right. God gave us a manual thousands of years before we all had children–the Bible. So, if you’re relating to anything I’ve said, I’d like to suggest our taking a few action steps today:
- Want wiser kids like I do? Let’s read and discuss a chapter a day from the Bible book of Proverbs during the month with our kids.
- Want grateful kids like I do? Let’s start praying with our kids–prayers of thanks and need.
- Want giving kids like I do? Let’s pray and look for opportunities where they can help someone in need–someone with less than they have.
If you find yourself in the same cycle as I do at times whether you’re you have biological or adoptive children, it’s okay to start over. It’s okay to tell the kids it’s a new day and we are going to do things differently at home. Let’s show them the love and grace of our Lord today and give them the tools they need to shine their lights and make this world a better place. Mom may not have said their’d be days like this but with God’s help, we can parent well.
“Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it.”