As a parent, I want my kids to be good. My husband and I teach them manners, to be kind to others, to clean up after themselves and to act like Jesus.
Unfortunately, I think as a parent I fall short in one area that is most critical to my children learning all of these lessons.
Modeling all of these things myself. *gulping sound*.
My children are looking at me and my husband for how to live their lives. Even if they don’t know it. This is an incredibly scary thing for me because some of you may not know it but I’m not perfect.
I know. Shocking. But the truth had to come out sometime.
I am still very much working on these lessons. I ask God every day to teach me to be like His Son. And it is in the daily dying to self that these truths are hard to live out.
So buckle up and get ready for some truth bombs!
Truth #1: They don’t hear your words when you shout.
On an outing one day, my older son was telling my younger son to stop screaming in the car because it was hurting his ears. Before I could tell my younger son to stop screaming my older son shouts, “STOP SCREAMING!”. I thought, that probably doesn’t help your cause there, big guy.
I had to pull over so I could safely explain to my oldest son that his younger brother can’t hear his words when he screams at him to stop.
Then it hit me.
Have I done that? Have I raised my voice to get my child’s attention only to have them not hear a word I’ve said? I also thought to myself, do I really listen when my child is talking or am I distracted by my phone or busy doing something “important”.
What could be more important than my child feeling loved by me because I am giving them my full and complete attention? I’m pretty sure whatever I am doing can wait two seconds so my son can tell me all about how he packed up his tricycle for the beach. Or ask me a question if gorillas are nice or not. Uh…go ask your father.
Do I model good listening skills in front them?
Do I look people in the eye when they are talking to me? Do I interrupt when people are talking? Do I whisper to my neighbor while a speaker is talking?
These things don’t come naturally to me and it takes work to learn good listening skills. So I try to practice listening well when others are talking so they know they are valued. And hopefully I will have passed on important life skill that will be incredibly helpful in my children’s futures.
Truth #2: Getting mad doesn’t change your situation
Oh, if I could only get this one right!
I very often find myself quickly getting mad over something I have no control over. And when I see my oldest son doing the same thing I cringe.
I understand that some people tend to have a harder time letting things go or letting things not get to them. Like they just seem to be naturally predisposed to situations or people making them mad.
Well, I hate to break it to ya but getting mad won’t change the situation.
My son will be yelling and crying in his room that his blocks won’t stay up. So he gives up and won’t try to make things work. I come in and ask him if he would like help. He explains to me that he is mad because he can’t make the blocks work for him. I ask him if getting mad will make the blocks stay up. He says no. Then I ask him again if he would like me to help him stand the blocks up. He says yes.
I try to teach him to problem solve instead of immediately getting frustrated with his situation.
I have to remind myself of this over and over and over again.
That I need to take a step back and think about the situation. Then see if you can figure out an alternative. Because, again, getting mad won’t change anything.
It won’t make that person in front of me go faster. It won’t give me everything me jealous heart wants. It won’t change another person’s bad intentions towards me. It won’t change my child’s attitude.
So when I feel myself getting frustrated with a situation (or my children!) I try to take a deep breath and ask God for His wisdom in how to handle the whatever is happening. Another post I wrote titled, “Why don’t I have any peace?” is another good reminder for myself about what to do when anger starts creeping up into my life.
And last of all…
Truth #3: Be patient, they are still learning.
“How many times do I have to tell you?” is a line I had heard so many times growing up. And I never thought I’d say it because it drove me crazy.
You would think that if I didn’t want to hear it I wouldn’t keep doing whatever it was I was doing, right? Are you confused yet? “Mom brain” means half the time I don’t even know what I’m saying. *nervous laugh*
My older son constantly gets after his younger brother for doing something he’s asked him not to do. Like not to hit or taking something without saying please.
While I do my best to intervene when I can, I also like to see sometimes how my older son will handle it. Will he hit his younger brother or will he ask him not to do that? Will he ask his younger brother to say please or will he tattle that his brother didn’t ask first?
This is kind of hit and miss depending on the mood of each child that day.
Again, this is something I had to ask myself if I was modeling for them.
Do I get annoyed that my son wipes his hands on his shirt for the umpteenth time that day instead of on his napkin? Do I get frustrated when they get water all over the counter after they use the restroom? Do I get worn out and cranky from all the whiny, weeping children around me?
Yes, yes and yes.
But the most important thing is…
I’m working on it.
I have in no way mastered all of these truths. But I acknowledge them. I see my flaws and I am choosing to correct them. Working on being more patient is a daily process.
After writing this long-winded post, it makes me think of James 1:19. “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”
All of what I just said summed up nicely in one paragraph. So simple to read yet sometimes so difficult to live out. Can I get a witness?
Some days, I look at my kid’s actions and think, “Yikes, do I do that?” Then other days, my oldest son will bring me a coaster to place my drink near me where I can reach and I think to myself, “God, thank you so much for granting me mercy and allowing me to be the one to teach these wonderful human beings how to be more like your Son every day.”
Thanks for reading.