I had recorded a television show that boasted a new revolutionary way to parent. How could I not be intrigued by this promotion?
There are some things I have been trying to teach my boys for years and sometimes it seems to be working and other times I think I need a new trick up my sleeve.
I flipped on the television in hopes of finding a new trick.
Instead I found a feeling of inadequacy.
I assume the show was trying to empower moms, but it didn't me. They host and author of the book raved about the success of this new way of parenting and sold it with such enthusiasm and authority, it made me feel like I was doing it all wrong. The problem is, I wasn't really sure what they are preaching. It was vague and seemed to be more in theory. The message I heard was that if my kids still work on some areas of their life, then I am not doing this parenting thing right. Well...of course my kids need work in some areas of their life. (Really, don't we all need to work on something?)
The show left me feeling empty and discouraged. And defensive.
So, to make myself feel better, I went straight be being judgmental. The host, though seemingly brilliant, didn't have children. I was done listening to her. And the author of the book, I am pretty sure she has had only one daughter. I am going to give her the tougher parenting job award for the preteen and teenager years, but has she ever hung out with my boys who always seem to be in a state of motion? The definition of kinetic energy at its best. When they are bored they always revert to wrestling each other to the ground. It doesn't matter where we are at: a friends house, the check out line, the church foyer...thankfully we worship a God of grace. These judgmental thoughts weren't getting me anywhere. (I am pretty sure this is why being judgmental is not recommended.)
So, I moved on to whining to my close friends about it. (Thank you to those that listened to my crazy babble on this topic.)
Thankfully, whining to my friends actually did work. One of my good friends replied, "Sometimes what parents see as weakness in our children, can actually be strengths."
My heart stilled as I focused on what she was saying.
My friend elaborated with this example:
"Children that we might wish shared their emotions more or are more outwardly empathetic to others....well, we need first responders that don't carry their emotions on their sleeve and can calmly assess a crisis situation and be healing hands for the hurt."
My racing brain expanded on her example:
A overdramatic and whiney child might turn in to a wonderful, charismatic teacher that can capture her students' attention and inspire them to be great learners.
That child that hates to lose and let's everyone know in a less than desirable fashion might lead a company into great success, blessing all his employees and their families.
The strong willed kids that are challenging to parent might use that strong will not to give up when others do. He might be the one to invent, discover or cure diseases.
What we parents sometimes view as our children's weaknesses are not always weaknesses.
My friend's thoughts made me think of this scripture:
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9, ESV)
"For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Cor 12:10, ESV)
In this reminder that God has a plan for my boys' lives, my mothering heart found peace.
I still feel like I need some new and fresh parenting ideas, so I am reading two parenting books. But, I am reading them with a renewed confidence that God is working on my kids in ways that I sometimes don't always understand and that no parenting book has all the answers.
Thank goodness for good friends who talk me out of crazy-mother-land. (How come crazy-mother-land is a comfortable place to reside sometimes? All of us moms hanging out with our irrational fears and expectations...that is a different blog post....)
And thank goodness for a God that uses my friends to calm my heart and remind me that ultimately my hope is in God's powerful presence in our lives and His ability to guide and take care of these little people in my life who I love more than words could ever fully express.