Confession…too often I forget to look at my kids and see their winning moments. Sometimes, I look too closely at their shortcomings and forget to tell them how they are growing and developing as human beings.
As parents, we want to make sure our kids are turning out okay. No one says it out loud, but we all feel like their behavior is a reflection of our winning moments or our epic fail moments. When our kids are in the middle of full blown fits, we often worry that onlookers are judging our competency as parents. When our kids are well behaved and using their manners, we fight the urge to take that success as our own. We NEVER say these things out loud, but we all know we are thinking it. If my kids turn out well, I will have succeeded as a parent. If my kids ends up on the floor throwing a fit at age 18, I will have tragically failed. Right?
Now, I have known lots of parents and lots of kids. I have seen kids with great families make incredibly poor choices. I have seen kids with horrible home situations overcome the odds and succeed beyond expectation. So, I don’t know if we can paint the world with the brush that good parents produce good kids and bad parents produce bad kids. I do think that sinners raise sinners and that is the only true statement I can agree with when it comes to parenting. The Bible says that all fall short of the glory of God. ALL! So, maybe their poor choices and good choices are not an indicator of our quality of parenting skills. Maybe their poor choices and good choices are part of their journey to maturity. Maybe, we need to take a step back and help them identify when they are in a winning moment just as often as we point out when have epic fail moments.
I know this can be hard sometimes, but here is a practice I employ when I start to focus on their failings more than their successes. If I look at them through God’s eyes I will see them quite differently. God made them. He planned them. He gifted them. He has plans for them. As they are growing up in our home, it is our job to see, in them, the giftings God has given them and prepare them to be used by God for His purposes. Example: I have a stubborn one. When this quality is used in conjunction with sin, we have a child who isolates themselves with their pride, and a child who is vulnerable to whatever lies their mind might find. But when we can direct this child to use this quality to bring God glory we get a young one who perseveres and is steadfast in their course. I have another one who is emotionally intense (let’s face it they are Whitby’s, they are all emotionally intense). When this intensity is used in conjunction with sin, I have a panic driven child who is governed by emotion. When we can direct our child to use that passion to the glory of God, we see a young one who is passionate in faith and shows incredible devotion to their savior.
So, what are you seeing in your kids? What gifting are you seeing in them? Are you cultivating that gift? Are you preparing your children to use those gifts to the glory of God? Are you celebrating their successes as often as you highlight their shortcomings? It’s something to look at.
Until another confession…