The kids were going crazy. Seriously, I was beginning to wonder if they were on something. I was in the midst of trying to help get a project done with someone in a public venue and the boys were requiring more attention than I could give in that moment. My attempts at correction and instruction were falling on the deaf ears of my blissfully rebellious little boys. The situation was out of control.
I was angry and frustrated.
They knew better than to act that way. They knew the standard of listening, obeying, and being courteous to those around them.
They were embarrassing me.
*CRINGE* – and that is the moment I came face to face with the ugly truth.
ME – I was focused on me.
My kids behavior was inconvenient to ME and it was making ME look bad. I was more concerned with my image as a mother than the needs of the heart that were being exposed in my wild ones. My attempts at correction were made in hopes of saving-face in front of anyone witnessing the chaos with their eyes or ears.
I often find myself acting out of a belief that, if my kids are well behaved, then it will make me look like a better mother. Yikes. Something just reared its ugly head.
My kids are going to misbehave, but correcting them should never be about me.
Bad behavior is the heart revealing its need for a Savior. I should use such moments to point them to God. That is the mission He gives me. Teaching my children should be rooted in my love for them – not myself.
Parenting is not about the parents. Parenting is about the children that God has entrusted in my care.
“But,” you may ask, “how do we measure our performance as parents when the behavior of the child often reflects what they are being taught at home?” It’s a good question.
We are called to instruct our children, but whether or not I am fulfilling what God requires of me can not be truly gauged by how my children behave. Even the most well behaved of children needs Jesus. Good behavior isn’t enough. To focus on the outward while neglecting the inward is to accept a lie of self-sufficiency.
I can be the best parent and teach my kids how to act like little angels but I fear that, when God is left out of the equation, the result is to raise little Pharisees who know just the right thing to say and do without understanding their need to be rescued from sin.
Successful parenting is doing it God’s way while leaving the results up to Him.
God desires this of me: to teach and model what He says is true and to introduce them to Him. I take comfort in knowing that He is the only one that can change the heart and, ultimately, outward behavior.
Satisfaction, contentment, joy, and purpose are not the results of raising model children, but of truly loving God and the ones that call me “Mommy.”
It’s a lesson God is teaching me again and again. Maybe we can learn and grow together.