“The influence of a Mother in the lives
of her children is beyond calculation.” James E. Faust
Recently, I asked some friends for their input: If you could tell a Mom one thing, what would you tell her? I laughed at the response of one friend who’s recently retired as a counselor, “Don’t kill ‘em.” Sometimes, that’s not that far from the truth. So, this Mother’s Day can we grab a cup of coffee and chat for a moment about being a Mom…
God is seeking to develop you. There are no accidents with God’s plan. When God gave you your child, He knew that your child needed you and He also knew that you needed your child. Our Heavenly Father is in the masterpiece making business. Personal happiness is not a priority in masterpiece making. Spiritual growth and holiness are. What your Father wants to develop in you is; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). It takes pruning, heat and friction to produce a masterpiece. Wonderfully, the very traits that He wants to produce in you are the exact things that your child needs most. Masterpiece building is frequently exhausting. That’s because your Father knows you don’t have it in you and will need to depend on Him and His grace. Wonderfully, as you model those traits, your children will often follow your example. They may also copy you if you fail to model them.
Determine to be a Mom of truthfulness. God is a God of truth. Jesus said, “I am the way…the truth” (John 14:6). Because children are so trusting, it’s tempting and simple to lie to them. It’s can be little things, yet they carry big consequences. For example, a child hates onions and has a fit over them…but the recipe tastes better with onions. They see you mixing it together and ask the inevitable question, “Are there onions in it?” What do you do? You must tell the truth. Pleasing God is not about avoiding hassles, even with your children.
Learn to be flexible. Our culture encourages us to be human doings. God created us to be human beings. Yet, we feel a sense of accomplishment when we accomplish more and wear how busy we are as a badge of honor. Both you and your child will be exasperated if you continually rush them. Relationship building takes time and nurture, even one with your child.
Grow in gratitude for the small things. “And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward” (Matt. 10:42). In other words, stop and smell the roses. Learn to enjoy the little things. Too often we approach parenting like a black dot on a white sheet of paper. We’re so focused on the dot, we miss all of the whiteness. Children are like a new flower. Growth must be encouraged, but ours is a weed whacking world. Be a person of gratitude and encouragement. It begins with being a grateful person, learning to savor and enjoy cups of cold water.
Plan for the long game. Most of us plan for nearly everything but parenting. Parenting is supposed to just “happen.” Planning always begins with prayer. It starts with trust and submission to the One who gave them to you. Pray for your child’s future, what their life’s vocation will be, if they’ll marry, who they’ll marry, what choices they’ll make, etc. Healthy parents give their children roots and wings. Ten or twenty years from today what kind of adult do you want them to be? That trajectory begins today. They will usually value what you value. If you value a temporal world, they will value a temporal world. Too many times we wait until adolescence to attempt to re-direct our child. It’s far too late. Patterns and values are already ingrained. The time for directing toward adulthood is during babyhood. It’s easy to plop a small child in front of a screen and have a digital babysitter. Is it any wonder that we have millennials who are obsessed with screens? They were taught to value them before they cut their teeth. Even most Christian parents are more concerned about their child’s education than their final destination. Spiritual values (Bible reading, prayer, community of believers, service, giving) are haphazard. There’s a reason so many young adults want little to do with eternal values. They weren’t valued during those formative years, but everything else was.
Live out the Golden Rule. Matthew 7:12, “Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.” Do you want your children to speak kindly to you? Then, speak kindly to them. Do you want them to be patient? Be patient with them. Do you want them to respect your privacy? Respect theirs. Do you want them to cover your faults in public? Then, cover theirs. Most adults carry wounds from being shamed as a child. With social media, it’s easier perhaps than ever before to share a tidbit that shames your child. It’s tempting to use it to vent but venting isn’t a biblical behavior. We’re to seek to instead problem-solve. So before you post, think through how your child might feel if they knew about that post.
Model biblical problem-solving. It begins with your own marriage. Little eyes are watching and learning how to resolve conflict. If they have siblings, they’re going to disagree and squabble. Teach them how to do that in a biblical, proactive way. Meltdowns won’t be tolerated in school or in the workplace, why tolerate them in the home? Many parents tune out squabbling, rationalizing “it’s just the way kids are.” Kids become adults. Squabbling in adulthood jeopardizes employment and can result in serious long term relational problems.
Trust the only objective reliable resource. There’s not enough time to go through the mountains of parenting books that have been written. Then, many of them offer contradictory advice (e.g., pick up your baby when she cries vs. don't pick up your baby when she cries). Add to these resources all of the blogs and websites that offer parenting tips and one can see why many parents feel overwhelmed. We are designed by God, thus His Word is our blueprint. Amazingly, the Bible has general principles yet few specifics. That’s because of the uniqueness of each parent, child and family. The main thing you’ll learn from the Bible is how to change YOU. As you grow and become more Christlike, that will do more for your parenting and children than anything else.
Can we help you spiritually? Can we help you know Jesus better? Please check out more resources on our church's web page, Gracechurchwi.org. Or, call us at 262.763.3021. If you'd like to know more about how Jesus can change your life, I'd love to mail you a copy of how Jesus changed my life in "My Story." E-mail me at Carson@gracechurchwi.org to request a free copy. Please include your mailing address.