This Time Tomorrow


Keep Calm and Parent On

Kids, OpinionStephanie Gorsky1 Comment
Day-votions for Moms

I've been able to be a bit creative with my schedule and carve out some 'me' time every morning to sit and enjoy a good book, dive into my bible, write in my journal (or my current obsession, to blog) or just sit in silence as I sip my coffee, which I often refer to as liquid perspective. It's my time to sit and think, and I cherish every second of it. Days get busy and filled with noise, as I mentioned in my previous post, it can get a little crazy around here! Which is why finding 'me' time is important. During my 'me' time a couple mornings ago, I was reading a devotional book (which I recommend, and you can look at here) that is written especially for Mom's. It's a little bit of daily encouragement, from one Mom to the other and feels so personal.

On that days reading she was talking about parenting our children through firmness and gentleness instead of anger. At first I giggled to myself - she clearly doesn't know my child! Disclaimer: I consider myself to be a fairly calm and gentle parent in the way that I interact with my son and how I discipline him. I've been very aware of the words I speak to Parker and how I respond to him in times when he needs redirection, but let me tell you: he is a button presser, both literally and figuratively! He is a persistent finder of things that he shouldn't be touching for his own safety, and he is a runner. Honestly, I've had people tell me that I should enroll him in sprinting because he's so fast. He can be a handful. And of course, I'm human; so, naturally, my first response when my toddler comes around the corner with a bottle of bleach in his hands is not one of gentleness or even near the spectrum of being calm. It's an instant what-are-you-doing-freak-out-don't-move-heart-attack-and-give-me-that moment.

Ok, so I can be dramatic.

But parenting can be extremely stressful at times! Children have a way of testing your authority in ways that does heat the moment at times. And my first reaction when my child has almost hurt themselves isn't relief - it's anger! "Why would you do that?", "You should know better!" But, should he really know better? The author in the book wrote something that stopped me dead in my tracks - an "ah-ha" moment. She wrote,

"Our children are just children, not little adults." 


GULP. Have I been parenting my child as though he has all the knowledge in his head that I do? I know bleach is dangerous and can be really harmful to him, but how in the world should I expect him to know that when it's the first time he's ever seen it? {sigh} My face became red with embarrassment as though she had been sitting in my living room herself and said it straight to me. What a simple thought that I'd actually never thought about. She also challenged me on why my initial reaction is to be angry. Did it make me feel superior? Am I being a prideful parent? Am I power hungry? Am I acting entitled?  Every mom in the world falls into not-so-gentle moods sometimes; we are young, we are tired, we are adjusting to stretching and ever-changing seasons in life - but what was the root of my sometimes angry responses?

"But we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children." 1 Thessalonians 2:7

 That verse is one the author referenced in her book, she then goes on to write this - which I couldn't do justice even attempting to paraphrase; you'll see why:

"Why would Paul use a mother's interaction between herself and her children as an analogy and example of how he had treated his fellow believers? Because gentleness is power under control. Gentleness is not a stick of dynamite with a short or long fuse. It is an explosive, powerful training tool with no fuse at all. When we allow the Holy Spirit to be in control, he will replace the fuse and remove the need to prove anything. Anger begets anger. Others - especially children - usually respond to gentleness." 


She explained that our children are our little mirrors. I would never want Parker's first reaction toward anything in life to be anger, but we as his parents need to teach him the correct response.

"Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry." James 1:19

There are times when I nail the gentle response thing as described in the bible. And then there are times when it doesn't even register with me (like the bleach incident) - And that's where God's grace comes in. I'm in no way shaming myself for making mistakes sometimes, but encouraging myself (and hopefully you) that we all fall short of being a stellar parent at times - but that's where God can come in and can fill the gap. We are all a work in progress. On days where I fall short, (and I do) there are lots of apologetic hugs and kisses going around - and lots of me saying "I'm sorry" or, "Mommy shouldn't have responded that way" to him. Children understand when you're saying sorry; as hard as it is for me to sometimes push those two words out of my prideful mouth, I'm teaching him a lesson in being humble and that it's OK to be wrong.

Do you know what the root is of your impatient parenting spirit at times is?

Don't answer it here. Just some food for thought!