I had an epiphany this week. About parenthood. It seems in our society today we have a certain level of expectations for children. Particularly in Christian circles, but you can see it in all kinds of groups. How well do you "control" your children? If you have wild, woolly and free spirits like I do - you know what I am talking about. We are judged as parents by how well our kids listen, behave and respond to our directions.
As parents we have a job to do. To raise up our kids with boundaries, love, consequences and rewards and to guide them in the direction we want them to go. So if you want to define THAT as controlling your kids - I'm all for it. But it seems to me that many people have this expectation that our kids should be robots. Following our directions without deviation, compliant and quiet and doing so happily.
But I had a thought about God. And how all our relationships on this earth are a reflection of something He wants us to learn about Him. We are His kids, right? And He gave us the gift of free will. He loves us, guides and instructs us and allows consequences to come our way. And yet he does not "control" us - even though He is capable.
What this tells me is that I should NOT control my kids. I should love them and instruct them and allow consequences to come their way. I'm not capable of controlling their behavior and it seems to me that God doesn't want me to do that either.
Kids are born with a temperament. Parents of strong willed kids again, know what I am talking about. The kids that inevitably break out in a brawl in the middle of the grocery store...every time no matter the consequences. The kids who poke and prod and poke and prod until an unwitting sibling returns with a full blown assault - in front of your pastor. Certain things cannot be disciplined out of them -it's the way God designed them and WANTED them to be. Although it should be guided and nurtured and "bridled" - it is who they are. Some kids are compliant and happily go along the easy path. Others live to fight another day, and inevitably end up grounded...again. I'm not saying that discipline is useless - heck, it sometimes is the only tool we got! But it won't change certain natural, inborn tendencies, like temperament.
I've been judged and pegged as a bad parent alot. It is refreshing to believe that I can do the best that I can - seeking guidance from God in raising my kids and at the end of the day, I'm not responsible to CONTROL my kids. They make their choices. My job as mom is to respond to those choices.
I know this may seem like a shocking and lackadaisical point of view of parenting. But it is far from that. It's a realization that I am the perfect parent to my child in all my imperfections because God chose me to be their mom. And I don't have to answer to all their behaviors, but to love and encourage and discipline and guide them to the best of my abilities. God gave us the freedom to make our own choices and to be us and our kids deserve the same considerations.