During a sermon at church Sunday, my pastor, Richard Myers, preached this message, Blood, Sweat and Tears. It is a sermon series about relationships. Sunday’s message was about marriage, but not being married, I saw it a different way. But for your benefit, you can insert the word marriage where I inserted children/parents.
Being a parent is hard work. You can’t have a kid and expect it to be easy peasy because it is not. It will be fun and interesting, but never easy! So while I was listening to this message I realized that after all these years, I haven’t done such a bad job! They are not dead and I’m not dead. We survived! I mean, it’s not like they come with an instruction book! But there were things I could’ve done different or even should’ve. With this new found knowledge based on the bible, I had a second chance to teach my young adult children and my grandson what I had missed.
- I won’t act like I am single or have no children. We have to shift our perspective from “Me” to “We”. There’s no room for “Me” when you have children. Ask yourself, how will this impact my children? That’s a tough question. I know I should do this when I watch TV. (Hawaii five-0 and Bones) I know my grandson shouldn’t see shooting and sometimes hear a curse word or see bloody bodies, etc. Maybe I could watch them when he goes to sleep and watch TV or play video games with him. “Just because we are in the same house doesn’t mean we are spending time together”, my daughter use to say; a very wise girl.
- I need to show action not just intention. Work on your relationship with your children. Your relationship with your children is a work in progress. Children do not know how to do anything unless they are taught! Let me repeat that! Children do not know how to do anything unless they are taught! This means things that are good and bad for them. We can’t expect our children to know what we mean when we say, “Pick up your toys”, when we haven’t shown them how to do it. They need your help with everything! I mean EVERYTHING! Don’t wait until they get to school and say,” Let the Teacher teach them!” Their first teacher is you and should be YOU! Remember, whatever they learn, they learn from YOU first! So be careful, they repeat words, actions, patterns and attitudes. When we ask them, “Where did you learn that from?” We immediately want to blame someone, but when they say,”You, mom or dad” we have to forgive ourselves, let our children know we make mistakes and try to do better.
- Every good relationship deserves encouraging words. Try this: If you think of something good about your children; say it out loud and to them, even to others while in front of them. As a Teacher, I correct kids all day, every day. I also need to remember to encourage my students by looking for ways to praise them; as well as my own kids and grandson at home. It’s really hard to see the positive and praise it, when you can’t look past the negative. I need to do better at this. When I pray, I want God to change my children and students, but God wants to change me. I can’t change them, but I can change me! I should be the best I can be, do the best I can and let God do the rest!
- Forgiveness is not fault-finding. Stop keeping a record of what your children do wrong and start keeping a record of what they are doing right. Don’t bring up past things. Keep the past in the past. We don’t like it when our children bring up what we promised to do and didn’t do, again. Our children don’t like to be reminded of their wrongs either. We all have feelings, the same feelings. What hurts us hurts them. When God forgives us of our sin, it’s gone, never to be known again. He doesn’t bring it back up every time we ask for his forgiveness for the same thing or a different thing. It doesn’t exist! We should follow our Heavenly Father’s example. Forgive and Forget. A new day, a new start! A do-over! Things change when you’re a parent, as they should. Healthy parenting consistently lives with an attitude of forgiveness. (Ephesians 4:32)
Being a parent has been the most scary, rewarding, hard, loving, maddening, meaningful journey of my life. Having a healthy and satisfying relationship with my children has been an on-going battle, but one I’m willing to fight! Keep pushing, keep pounding, keep loving and learning. Do your very best and let God do the rest! You are a GREAT PARENT!