I know this is a happy moment for me and my boys. But this picture doesn’t do justice to the reality of parenting: it’s tough! Because behind the scenes are spilled food, a messy room, some defiance, taunting and teasing and hurting between brothers, bad attitudes and behavior. The list can go on. There are a few occasions that my wife has cried as if giving up. But there is hope.
In one chance meeting with our son’s teacher, my wife asked—”How do you do it?” pointing to her calm demeanor as she teaches 19 toddlers every day with split personalities. Her answer was a revelation and it gave us a better understanding of what parenting is:
1. Our children are still “under construction.”
Much like a house or a building, it is at a phase that hasn’t reached its finishing touches. Meaning, our children are still trying to figure out life and their identities. Because of their age and capacity, they will make A LOT of mistakes and as adults we are to understand, taking on a supportive nature.
Parents, as humbling as it sounds, if we want to raise kids so that they can be the individuals we hope for them to be, they need to see a model in us first.
2. Believe it or not, one of the purposes of parenting is to “sanctify” us.
Yes. When they throw a tantrum, we get upset. When they refuse to obey, we get mad. When they dilly-dally from packing away or taking a shower, we shout. When they disappoint us, we put on a sour face. These are our character flaws revealed and seen by our children. The question is, does that picture appeal to them? Is that the side of us that we want them to see all the time? We teach them to be righteous but are our actions godly at all? Is this the kind of childhood memories we want them to remember? Therefore, our children’s wrongful behavior was meant to give us the awareness of our flaws and sanctify us in order to bring out the right character worthy of their admiration. In other words, we cannot expect our kids to change unless the change begins with us.
Sobering. But real. Ouch!
We have a choice to embrace this or not. In my own observation, I’ve seen parents raise their kids with too much toughness and dominance that today their children have become rebellious. On the other hand, I’ve seen folks who are too permissive and lax, that their kids have become spoiled or too dependent.
Parents, as humbling as it sounds, if we want to raise kids so that they can be the individuals we hope for them to be, they need to see a model in us first. Our character needs shaping. So, don’t flare up so easily. Don’t beat them up with too many rules (more than Moses’, it’s confusing). Don’t be so hard on them. Stop being a helicopter parent and manipulating their lives like a remote control. Refrain from shouting and hurling painful words at them especially in public. Instead, be loving, gentle, kind, self-controlled yet firm as needed. Tough. Easier said than done. But doable. Especially if you and your spouse have a commitment to work it out and put the end in mind.
After all, our children are our most valuable possession, our greatest asset, and precious legacy.
#as1 #daddydiary #rafeasher #parenting
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