Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Parenting Truth They Never Told Me

... was that the greatest challenge I would ever face, would be ME.

This past week I shed more than a few tears over the quotes below. In particular, one night I felt I had blown things badly by losing all patience with a child's fickle fears (that seemed to always pop up just in time to procrastinate at bedtime.) She wanted me to lay beside her, and I just wanted bedtime and parenting duties to be DONE. So I turned down her request, turned off her light, and came downstairs to my flickering computer screen, only to find these thoughts piercing my selfish heart.

There are days that I feel I've done okay, and days when I feel that I'm the world's biggest failure. But there is never a day that I feel I have "arrived." And I guess, that is a good thing. I am a work in progress - as are my children.

I only pray I can extend to them the same grace they so generously share with me.

“No matter what problem or issue we face in parenting, our relationship with our children should be the highest priority. Children do not experience our intentions, no matter how heartfelt. They experience what we manifest in tone and behavior. We cannot assume that children will know what our priorities are: we live our priorities.

“Many a child for whom the parents feel unconditional love receives the message that this love is very conditional indeed … unconditional acceptance is the most difficult to convey exactly when it is most needed: when our children have disappointed us, violated our values or made themselves odious to us. Precisely at such times, we must indicate, in word or gesture, that the child is more important than what he does.”

- from Hold On to Your Kids by Neufeld & Maté

The laying down of our lives is not just about moving to the most impoverished country or preaching to thousands. But right in front of us, the child who would long to have our comforting touch and gentle voice of life-giving words, that he may imagine the voice and touch of God when He ponders faith as a young adult and chooses to believe because the reality of God was in his home.

The child who needs one more song to be comforted before sleeping, so that he might be able in adulthood to believe in a God who is patient and willing to answer prayer and hear our voice when we as his children cry out in faith.

The child who is lonely, confused, hormonal, who will feel the touch of God, the sacrifice of God as we give up the rights to our time and comfort to befriend and listen and show compassion and sympathy for what is on his heart.

- Sally Clarkson


Life with Kaishon said...

You aren't just a good Mom, are a great one. I am going to tweet this post because I think it will be a blessing to many.

I am sorry you have had a few buggy days! Hopefully things will be better and brighter tomorrow. Kaish and I prayed for you and the kids tonight at bedtime.

Love, Becky

Jamie Jo said...

Very convicting words. I just found your blog via WOTH. Glad to "meet" you. Your family is beautiful.

Jamie Jo said...

I would love to subscribe to "follow" your blog but you don't have that option. It's easier for me to go to my own dashboard and see new posts that way. Just saying...

Anonymous said...

What a great reminder to all of us of the awesome love and mercy of our Heavenly Father.


Terri Fisher said...

I understand these comments from an intellectual and even spiritual point of view. But when you child has violated every principle that you and God hold dear, and is wreaking havoc on the rest of the family, I find it very difficult to not respond "strongly". I know that what I feel must be somewhat akin to what God feels when He observes His creation on a daily basis, and I try to remember the grace, mercy, and love He bestows on us, but I also know that there need to be consequences to choices that are made. Parenting is not for the weak of heart...

Jamie Jo said...

After you sign in, act like you are going to start a new post, but instead, click on DESIGN tab at the top. Then in the side bar click on "add a gadget." Another box will open. Scroll down until you see "Followers" and "Follow by email" and click on the plus sign next to whichever one you want.

Hope this helps!

ness said...

Steph, you always challenge me...I so appreciate the way you think and how you are always striving.

It's so hard to guess if we are being "played" by these little ones or if they really do need us at that bedtime hour. I will pray that we will have the wisdom to know the truth in that moment....

Sometimes, I tell my kids, "Mommy is only human. I don't want to fail you. But I do. God will never fail you. He is what you are really longing for."