As a parent you know that it is your job, your role, and your responsibility to teach your children. Teach them to care for themselves, to love others, to be responsible, how to be in relationship with God, to be respectful of those in authority over them, etc…this list can go on and on.
But what I have learned recently is just how many lessons my children are teaching me in return. They have taught me about unconditional love, patience, forgiveness. These seem obvious if you are a parent. But as my precious AK has entered into her 3rd year of life, she has become quite the imitator with a huge imagination, and I realize how much my sweet Lucas is beginning to understand what is happening all around him. I have begun to see myself in my children. Yes, the parts of them that look like me, or seem familiar to me…but I mean I really have begun to see me – the real me. The way I speak, the tones I use, the actions I take. They are huge imitators of who I am and who my husband is. Its been so easy to go through life and think you are the one that is right, and has it all together, and everyone else is wrong, that is until you get a glimpse into who are you by watching your children. They have this uncanny ability to say it like it is – show you the real you by just being themselves and using their imaginations.
What I’ve learned is that I’m not always as kind as I’d like to be. I’m not always as patient as I wish I was. I’m not always as merciful as I should be. Oh, how I thank you Lord for not holding us to this level of perfectionism that we strive to have in our lives. Thank you Jesus for giving us new mercies every morning!
In recent weeks I have learned that I must be more gentle and kind. Less stressed, and more relaxed. I must cherish the moments of silliness, and even angst with my children. This doesn’t mean my children need to be given free reign to do as they please or that I should quit disciplining them. It just means that I should take a mental snapshot of how cute Lucas looks wrapped in my curtains trying to play peek-a-boo, before I have to get on to him because it's not a safe place of play. It means that it’s ok for AK to help in the kitchen and make a big mess with her little hands because she needs to learn from me on how to be a good home maker. It means that I might have to get up 30 minutes earlier than everyone else to make sure there is plenty of time to play before we go to school instead of stressing over whether we are going to be late.
My children teach me daily on the importance of the fruits of the spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us, But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
To be a good parent, a teaching parent, a responsible parent – you need these fruits to be evident in your life. You need them not just at home, but everywhere you go, with everyone you encounter. These fruits of the spirit being evident in our lives are what set us apart from the world. If my children are imitating me at this young of an age – what will they be like as teenagers and adults? What message am I sending if I allow what I am seeing (that does not show these fruits) to continue without making an effort to change? I want my children to learn from my example. If they are displaying to me that I am not loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle or have no self-control – then I need to make a change(s). You see, I’m learning that being a teaching parent isn’t a one way street. It’s a give and take. I teach them and hope they are learning from me, and if I’m aware enough, I can let them teach me. I want to be able to soak up knowledge and faith as easily and trusting as my children are soaking it up from me.
I want to be aware of what I am teaching and what I should be teaching my children. As I write this, I am encouraged to kick it up at notch at my household. My kids are eager to learn, so let’s learn more about God and his amazing love for us! Let’s learn more about worshiping our creator in all things. Let’s learn more about loving each other and serving those around us.
AK especially is up to this challenge of learning more. We have made a huge effort to encourage her to join us for the praise and worship portion of our Sunday service before she goes to her Sunday school class. She thoroughly enjoys music and we have seen amazingly precious child like faith come out of her because of it. She walks around singing praises to the Lord daily. Just yesterday she learned the chorus to “I’ll Fly Away” and it was such a precious sound to hear her belt it out and then lead us in singing it. Lucas may not be able to say much, but he sure can clap and dance to the beat. I want my children to know how to worship God and do so freely. But as I try to teach them how to do this, I realize how much more free I need to be in my attempts at worshiping my God.
I want to be able to say to my children – Do as I do. Instead of the old adage that says Do I say, not as I do. But as my children grow, and develop their own relationship with God, I would love to learn from their example as they dive deeper with the Holy One, how amazing would it be if in the end, as they become adults,instead of me saying Do as I do, I begin to learn to Do as they do.
What are some of the great life lessons your children are teaching you?
Until Next Time, Be Blessed and Be a Blessing…