If fruit is born only from the heart of good soil, how do we cultivate good soil in the hearts of our children?
My daughter was gripped with fear when she was learning to swim. Even though the lesson was only a half hour, I spent half of that time trying to pry her four-year-old fingers from the guardrail. Every week, it was the same thing: un-prying, coaxing, crying, sweating. . And no matter what bribe I offered, she refused to get into the pool. All the other kids were in the pool splashing and having fun. I was so embarrassed in front of the other mothers. They glared at me as my child whipped me in a game of wills every week. I felt defeated.
I think every mom feels defeated at some point in her life. Have you felt that way—as if your repeated attempts to teach your child are met with crying, clenching and sweat? Take heart. My daughter is now in high school and is an adept swimmer. Yes, it took many tries, but finally, she waded into the pool on her own and can now teach others to swim.
How has perseverance paid off in your role as a mother?
Scripture: Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4
Photo courtesy Microsoft Images
My wise friend Veta recently said that, “As parents, we need to teach our children to search for their own sense of worth through the eyes of Jesus. The more they know who Jesus is, the more they will understand their value.”
You mean my child’s sense of self-worth isn’t totally my responsibility?
We want our kids to feel secure so we provide the normal things such as love, comfort and as much as we can, a sense of normalcy. We even applaud them for their accomplishments. But what else can we do to empower them to find their real sense of worth in God?
So here’s the challenge: The next time your child asks if they are special, how will you steer them to learn their value in Christ?
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. . . Psalm 139:13-14
Photo courtesy Microsoft Free Images
A young woman named Pleasing gave birth to a child she named Wanted. Pleasing’s goal in life was to make sure Wanted was always happy. Pleasing’s childhood was fraught with sadness and she wanted a different life for her child.
She fed Wanted only the foods that made him happy. She let him pull the dog’s tail and bite the neighbor kid because it brought Wanted joy. As Wanted grew older, Pleasing made sure to attend to his every need so that he would remain happy. She did all the household chores and protested when his teachers admonished him for not turning in his homework. Schoolwork made Wanted feel stifled and kept him from what really made him happy: sleeping in late and playing video games. When Wanted became an adult, Pleasing made sure he had the money he needed for dates and gasoline for his car. She continued to clean his room, cooked his meals and did his laundry. These things made Wanted happy.
In middle age, Pleasing had gone bankrupt and was weary after all the years of making Wanted happy. She couldn’t figure out why other mothers in the neighborhood had the energy to do fun things and why their children seemed self-sufficient. They had all started careers and families of their own. Wanted, on the other hand, was still living at home, had become overweight, unhealthy, dependant on others and had no friends. Pleasing couldn’t figure out why Wanted felt so empty and depressed.
Hadn’t she done everything to make him happy? Pleasing wondered.
My sweet mother, this is a fictional story of course. Nevertheless, through it, I pause to think about my role as parent. Perhaps you can relate on some level with Pleasing. She wanted to save her child from the unhappiness she innocently experienced as a child. Perhaps you too want your children to experience a happiness you never knew. While there is nothing wrong with being happy, can I persuade you to think about wholeness over happiness? What you needed as a child and what your children need is a wholeness that comes with proper perspective. What makes a child whole are love and nurture, but also teaching and discipline. That means our children will not always be happy. They will not like us sometimes. But that’s just fine because what we want them to have is something better: the joy and confidence that comes with a personal character that is in alignment with God’s design.
Scriptures: The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him. May your father and mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice. Proverbs 23: 24-25
The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother. Proverbs 29:15
Prayer: Lord, please help me to raise my children in the way you have lovingly directed. Please help me to teach and discipline them and not grow weary. Help me to see the big picture of their lives and not give in to their unhealthy wants today.
Photo compliments of Wikipedia