I think all children challenge their parents from time to time. If we as parents are honest we were guilty of giving our parents a run for their money in parenting skills, too. May God have mercy on you if you have a child that does some of the same things that you did as a child.
All of my children remind me of God’s grace and mercy towards me but my youngest really gives me a run for my money. I find myself asking God to help me parent him more than the older two because that child is almost exactly like me as a child. lol I can laugh and cry about the similarities. I guess if I really think about it, all three have challenged me at different stages in their growth.
A few months ago I posted on my marriage fan page that I thought that marriage was an experiment in 1 Corinthians 13. I would like to correct that statement and say that I believe all relationships are an experiment in that passage of scripture. This scripture actually sits on my desk at work to remind me to love like God but I digress. Back to parenting.
Gifts are good but…
When I think about the first three scriptures in this passage I think about what good is it to have gifts, talents and abilities and I can’t show my children love. I think about what good is it if I can write the best posts, articles, and research papers but am not able to give love to my children. Then I thought about what good is it if I am able to speak with love to others and am not able to speak with that same love towards my children.
My relationship with them as a parent has to be just as intentional as it with clients, future vendors and strangers. My level of frustration should not determine how I parent them anymore that it determines how God loves me. Yes I am to discipline them but with love.
Be patient with them
The next four verses give me the formula on how to love them. The first one tells me that love is patient. Now I know that telling your child 13 times to do whatever task needs to be completed is frustrating but I encourage to pray for God to help you to be more patient. They really do get it right eventually. Keep encouraging and teaching them in the same way your parent/guardian did with you.
Be kind to them
The next one tells me love is kind. I think that was pretty simple but for those of us that may need help. Before we get to them finally doing the task as we asked and taught them our frustration without patience may cause us to be unkind in how we speak to or react to our children. Ask yourself has your performance ever improved when someone was kind and firm or unkind and a bit messy. Think about that when you are frustrated without patience with your child.
Be supportive of them
Then the scripture talks about envy. I know some of you may wonder now how does that apply to parenting. Sadly it does. Sometimes we want our kids to experience life as we did even if there is an easier way. We learned the hard way and so we want them to do the same. If there is an easier and simpler way to clean, play, or work why would we want our children to do it differently? It saves time and you can spend more time with them rather than doing things the way that you are used to doing it.
Be humble with them
I know as parents we have to give direction in the household for our children to grow up to be productive citizens but being arrogant in the delivery does not show love. Children secretly understand that you were a kid once so acting like you were perfect does not help them respect and follow you more. Humbly lead by example with love and they will come over to our side one day.
Along with arrogance we cannot be resentful when they mess up and choose a direction that of which we do not agree. We have to love them anyway and judge each challenging moment independently of the last disappointment. Could you imagine if your boss measured your performance on the 10 years on the job rather than on each individual project or day that you have worked? Could you imagine your mechanic being rude and arrogant because you brought your car in for an oil change past 2000 miles late again? I know it’s disappointing and even frustrating but going back to having patience it will help you to not resent the choices made.
We can choose to teach or tear down in the moments that our children disappoint us. You only get them for a short time so trying harder in these areas will make these moments less frustrating and more bearable.
As we continue to read the scripture talks about rejoicing in the truth instead of the wrong. In our house we TRY to catch our children doing well more than we do the wrong stuff. They need to know that even when they mess up that there is some good in them. There are so many images of negativity for them that they need to know from the people who love them that they are awesome young men in training.
If you have a child that seems to do everything wrong find something to pat them on the back about. I don’t’ care if it they finally put a pair of socks in the hamper amongst all the other stuff that didn’t make it. Tell them. If they came in 20 minutes earlier from their usual hour past curfew tell them. They already know that they are disappointing you with their actions but if you help them to know that you see the small things it may make them want to do it more. Regardless, still continue to catch them doing good rather than bad.
Stand with them
It all boils down to the final part of this that love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. Making it through parenting can sometimes be nothing short of a miracle in action but we do it because of this. This is how God loves us. Even when we mess up and it seems like we are not coming back to him, he still loves us. Our children need to know that we have not lost hope in them just like we need to know that God still has hope for us.
Love them like God loves you.
Just another day’s journey of learning to love like God loves me. Peace.