It’s amazing to me how my mom moments lend themselves to Jesus moments…
Over the last year I took part in a “no yell challenge”. I received daily encouragement from a website and took great care in really speaking to my children lovingly. And then summer came…
More kids at home for greater lengths of time. Add in the one child who is very black and white and another who sees the world as a series of differently shaded rainbows and wow, just wow.
Confession; my tongue and tone have gotten the best of me this summer. I’ve grown tired of sibling bickering, sweat induced whining and sounds of the summertime blues. The grating sound of temporarily unsatisfied children surrounds me, creeps in and eventually I lose my cool.
As a pretty black and white thinker myself I have always seen 2 options when I hit boiling.
Option A would be to yell, which I do not think helps 99% of situations (except maybe when your tiny 2.5yr old thinks running in the road to see her friend who just pulled up would be fun…please alert your child of their surroundings and possible danger in that moment!)
Option B would be to say nothing, which sounds calm until you realize you’ve been quiet but your insides are in knots. For weeks I have tried so hard to say nothing. Walk away. Don’t respond. Count to 10. Take deep breaths. Whatever I could do to keep it together. And while it worked I would eventually hit a wall, lose it a little, have to ask my kids for forgiveness and then I would start the whole process again. (I’m a glutton for punishment!)
When I yell, I dismantle an environment of conversation, correction and learning. When I say nothing, I do the exact same thing. In saying nothing I haven’t dealt with my child, I haven’t managed my own feelings well and whatever the issue, it is still festering.
So what is Option C? Work it out. Confront the child (or children). Express how I am feeling and what I am thinking. Try and solve the problem together.
Option C is SO HARD. If the child is argumentative talking things out could take a long time and a lot of patience. Tapping in to my child’s empathy for how I might think or feel takes just the right language. And problem solving, ha! that seems nearly impossible.
Option C is exactly what both my kids and I need. They need to see me have the patience and self control to confront them. This is how they will learn to confront others. They need to hear that I have feelings and thoughts and expectations. This is how they will begin to understand what it means to live alongside others. They need to problem solve, even if that means making suggestions but eventually giving in and doing things my way (I am still the responsible adult after all!). This is how they will learn to work with authority.
So often this is how God deals with us too. He demonstrates through His Son and His Spirit how we should live. He expresses to us through the Word and His Spirit what He desires from us. He beckons us to come to Him and work things out, even when that means we yield to His ways over ours because He is still God after all.
As God demonstrates His love for me, so I commit to demonstrating love for my children.
It is work. Exhausting, frustrating, never ending, work. Yet, it is in the work that I meet God and am reminded how deeply, affectionately and patiently He loves me.
Take the plunge. Whatever hard parenting thing you need to do, do it. God is waiting for you there.