You are totally rocking out this parenting thing! Your children are cute, smart, well dressed, took a cooking class at age two (yes, they really exist) and potty trained far earlier than your sister's child. But you have a secret: you don't know what you're doing... but it's okay...none of us do.
All any of us have to do is point to our social media to show what totally perfect lives we have. Perfect birthday parties, enchanting vacations, smiling children, smiling adults, smiling dogs and cats, even our goldfish smile from their shiny clean bowls. We ooze confidence and happiness. Even when we document our challenges, we give them a funny spin that demonstrates our ability to conquer every parenting hiccup with humor and competence. We are just so stinkin' cute. Everyone wants to be us.
But in those dark, sleepless hours the doubts creep in. You look back on events of the day or the week and you wonder how your child could lie to you with such skill or become so enraged at their younger sibling that you had to step in to prevent real injury. You may berate yourself for screaming at your children, and you now wish with all your heart that you had a chance to respond with firm patience instead.
You wonder why you gave in to a candy bar at the grocery store or why you made such a big deal over not giving them a red popsicle. It's just a popsicle. You ate a hundred of them the summer you were seven years old. You replay these events in your mind and wonder why the hospital even let you take your baby home when you couldn't even keep that pet hamster alive when you were twelve.
You want to be a great parent, but there are times when you believe you miss the mark by a mile. Hear this: the odds are incredibly high that you are a great parent even when you do miss the mark. Parenting is the greatest challenge of your lifetime with incredibly high stakes. This truth is not lost on you or you would not be reading this. You are striving toward the goal of raising good humans who have a strong sense of self and others.
The scriptures are full of wisdom that teaches us the importance of this awesome task, but one of them stands out to me louder than the others: "Honor your father and mother." Exodus 20:12, Leviticus 19:3, et al)
I know you are wondering why I would say that the command for children to honor their parents would be meaningful to parenting. Well, here is why: Parents should be honorable. Parents should give their all to the task of parenting. Don't put road blocks between your children and their need to obey the commandment to honor you. Make it easy for them to do so. Be honorable. Do well. Stand firm in your faithfulness to your children. Put their needs ahead of your own. Power through the moments that you would never show on any social media platforms...even the ones that claim that your post "disappears" after a period of time. Yeah right. I hope that none of you all believe that hooey...but I'm digressing.
Even when it is difficult, remember that we have been given a perfect list of how to love our children. We know what love looks like just by referring to the 1 Corinthians 13. When you wonder if you are parenting well enough remember that:
a. You don't have to be perfect. Even God said that creation was good. Not perfect.
b. Tomorrow is always another day.
c. Your judgement, when guided by the definition of love, is usually right.
d. Your children love you so much that they will forgive and come to understand your imperfections. They may laugh at them in their adult years, but they mean it in love.
e. It's going to be okay. I promise. It's all going to be okay.
But here is one tip that I want to offer, and it is found in today's title:
Do not tell your children that you have doubts and fears.
They believe you know what you are doing and that is important to their sense of security and safety. Pretend to be confident even when you are not. You may be making a mistake but make it boldly.
Your children need to see that you are strong and able to protect them from the world that is beyond their ability to navigate when they are young. They need a captain who knows the way. Show them that side of you. Call me when you need to express doubt in yourself and I will tell you how well you are doing. I believe in you, my friends.
Below is the link to last week's blog post that didn't make it to all my subscribers due to a glitch that is beyond my ability to comprehend. This message dovetails very nicely with the encouragement that I want you to feel today.