The Joy, Embarrassment, and Humor of Parenthood
While grocery shopping, have you ever noticed a mother trying to manage her mildly out-of-control child? While the mother attempts to calm the child, it seems her comfort is only making the child grow more and more rebellious and somehow in the midst of that, you find yourself feeling sorry for her. Perhaps you find yourself wondering why the child feels it is acceptable to behave in such a way, one that brings sadness and embarrassment to their parent. How does one respond to such an event?
I am the parent.
A few years ago when my daughter was about four-years-old, we were standing in line waiting for our turn to check out. It was one of those days that had been saturated with gray clouds with a major chance of rain, and my daughter had been working on my last nerve with her questions, bickering, whining, and sticky fingers.
It seemed like she had grabbed everything within her reach and either knocked it off the shelf or into the shopping cart. Then, to put the cherry on top, while sitting in the back of the shopping cart in the check out line, she looked at the customer in front of us and said: “Mommy, what happened to his hair?”
The customer, an older man, stood in front of us and didn’t have much hair and that which remained was white as snow. Embarrassed by my daughter’s question, I apologized profusely to the man for her question and awkwardly smiled at him.
Light-heartedly, the man glanced at me and then looked at my daughter and let out a huge chuckle. He laughingly said, “I can understand your question chickadee, this is what happens to you when children ‘worry’ you. Thank goodness your mommy doesn’t have to worry about you making her lose her hair.”
Amusingly enough, I remembered thinking, “Sir, this is a wig and she does make me want to pull off my wig, and I often do”.
Our children often make mistakes, many are humorous and others – not so funny. So, where do we draw the line?
It doesn’t take me to tell you that parenting is hard work and as the old saying goes
“children do not come with instructions”. I assure you had my daughter entered this world with instructions, I would have saved time on trials and errors.
The same applies to our Father God. We are His children and encouraged to follow His plans for our lives. Think about the scripture. Our Bible tells us that children are our heritage and a gift from God; they are the fruit of our womb and a reward (Psalm 127:3). Our children are imitators of us as we are emulators of God (Ephesians 5:1). God has a goal in mind for His children – to guide us towards conforming to the image of Jesus (Romans 8:28-29). Even as parents, we are also children to God and must apply what God has taught us in the way we raise and teach our children.
4 Key Objectives to God’s Parenting Plan
Parents, we must keep our objective in front of us – to teach our children to love God with all their hearts, and to love others. In order for us to achieve these objectives, we must:
1. Teach our children how to pray.
First, we must be sure that our children understand what prayer is and why it is important. In the simplest terms, prayers are conversations with God. Prayer allows us to show our love and respect for God in our own personal way.
Matthew 6:7 NLT tells us, “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again.” This means it is not necessary to pray a certain way in order for God to understand your heart.
We should guide our children to speak to God in their own words. We often teach them the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), which was given to us by Jesus. However, God welcomes our own personal prayers, too, ones that are directly connected to our hearts and to His.
2. Nurture our children to build Godly relationships with others.
We should encourage them to practice the second commandment – it is essential to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. This starts in our home. Our children must learn what biblical love (as opposed to worldly love) means (1 John 3:16). They must learn how to resolve problems the way that God intends versus the way the world teaches us (1 Peter 3:8-12).
Children should learn how to speak in a manner that builds up others instead of tearing them down (Ephesians 4:29). As parents, we have all had to learn how to discern who our friends were and how to choose them wisely ( 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1). Guiding our children towards building God-fearing friendships with others is all a part of being a parent following God’s blueprint for His children.
3. Educate and teach our children how to be responsible.
As our children grow, we must teach them life skills in order to make informed decisions as they grow towards adulthood. We are responsible for teaching our children how to clean, cook, do laundry, shopping, understand the management and use of money, etc. Further, we must also teach them the process of having and maintaining proper hygiene and how to keep their bodies healthy.
Also, our children should be taught how to respect and take care of their possessions and the things of others.
4. Teach our children love and to do so graciously.
God’s loves us tenderly and with unconditional, abundant love. “Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.” (Psalm 103:13)
We must teach our children humility, love, and grace. Teach them to be kind, speak with love, listen, and most importantly treat others the way they would like to be treated. Our children must understand that as they grow older, certain behaviors are no longer tolerated.
Just as we are imperfect humans, this same sentiment applies to parents. Thank God for His abundant love and mercy that covers all of our sins. It is our responsibility to raise our children as God directs us. Teaching our children with a foundation that is built around the relationship between God and Jesus is where it all begins and ends.
SO, WHAT’S THE PLAY CALL?
As parents, we learn and grow through our mistakes, keeping God’s will for our lives as we guide our children towards our Father.
Remember the objectives above for parenting as God has called us, and in all that we do, we must keep God first and pray often (Luke 10:27, 1 Thessalonians 5:17).
As parents, we have huge responsibilities, ones that are achievable by following our heavenly Father.