I don’t know about you but I’ve had a lot of teachable moments in the past 31 days and I’m sure my children can say the same. In a lot of ways I feel like I’ve failed miserably practicing what I preach this month. I don’t know if that’s because I’ve been focusing on it so much that I’ve made myself over think it, or maybe I’m just noticing it more because I’ve been writing about it. One thing is for sure though the enemy loves to tear us down and make us feel like we’re not good enough. I’ve had several people from friends, to my own husband and my mother tell me (in reference to this series) how they feel like they are not parenting the right way or that they didn’t do things the right way when they had a chance.
That is not the result I was going for when I set out to write about Teachable Parenting. And this is what I would like to say to everyone that is reading this:
Stop beating yourself up. I am talking to you. You, wiping your child’s nose. You doing the dishes. You getting disapproval from others because you let your child sleep with you, and you getting disapproval from your child because you won’t let them sleep with you. You who are late to get your child to soccer, and you who feels bad that you can’t afford soccer. To the bottle feeders, and the breast feeders, the loud mom, the mean mom, the Pinterest mom, and the laid back mom.
You are enough.
Please be encouraged. You are doing an amazing job. Your sacrifice is meaningful. You are capable and equipped. You are chosen. You are qualified. You can do this.
To sum it all up I’d like to leave you with some advice from a young man who spent most of his life in prison. I met Brandon Young this past Sunday when a ministry group called Hope Royale came my church. The men were different ages and had different backgrounds, but their commonality was that they had all spent a good deal of time in jail and now have come to a place of restoration with powerful testimonies to share about their journeys. At the end of the service a panel was opened up for question-and-answer time. We were all encouraged to ask them anything we wanted. It could be about drugs, alcohol, jail, suicide attempts, anything. I hesitated because this was a big group and we had to speak into the microphone, but then I thought why not, this is a great opportunity for me. So I stood up and I briefly mentioned the project I’m working on about parenting and my question was “What advice would you have for parents? What one thing would you say to help them steer their children away from such hardships? Brandon looked me in the eye and he just simply said,
As he paused my eyes began to well up with tears with the gravity and complexity of the statement. He expounded just a little bit by saying “My parents weren’t perfect, but they weren’t even there. Just be there for your kids.” I thought it was interesting this 24 year old young man would say he didn’t need perfect parents. He just needed parents that were there for him.
I’d like to repeat what I said that the father shared with his daughter at her 16th birthday which is that no matter where she finds herself he will be there for her. Just like Christ promises us, just like the prodigal son. Hopefully our children don’t have to go through all these dark struggles that we so strongly want to keep them away from, and there are things we can do to help them for sure. Of course listening is important, chores are important, our words are important, our actions are important, but after 31 days and tons of tips telling you what I’ve learned about Teachable Parenting I’d like to leave you with one simple piece of advice from my new friend Brandon.
Just be there for your kids.