Let me paint you a not so pretty picture.
Two of my older kids have been at each others throats for the last few days. They pick non-stop, mess with the other’s belongings, “accidentally” bump into one another, etc, etc. Last night, I’d had enough. They were supposed to be washing the dishes but all they were getting accomplished was a whole lot of smart alack comments back and forth. The more aggravated they got, the louder they got.
After I had reached my limit- “STOP YELLING!!!”….I yelled. (You can’t see me but I promise I’m hanging my head in shame.)
Well hello there pot, how bout we leave kettle alone and deal with ourselves!
I was so frustrated with them and myself that I just went to bed. Laying there I couldn’t help but realize that I was a part of the problem in my attempt at being the solution. Granted, there are times as a parent you have “elevate” your voice to get your child’s attention. However, in this case, my raised voice only added to the chaos and I am fairly certain I did not get my point across so I basically yelled & made myself feel bad for nothing. I knew there was a Scripture for my predicament but I couldn’t recall it to my memory. So this morning, I searched “what does the Bible say about leading by example.” What I found made me want to cry:
“Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.”
(1 Peter 5:2 & 3 NLT)
This verse is under the heading of “advice for elders” but can easily be applied to parenting. Most people, including the little ones in my care, will typically be more responsive to my instruction if I do as I say.
Maybe, just maybe, they will be less likely to rip each other’s heads off if I control my tongue even in the midst of my anger towards them. If they see me taking pause to check my emotions and speak calmly and rationally, perhaps they will start to do the same. I believe they will learn better from that example than they will from me simply telling them that’s what they are supposed to do regardless of how I behave.
I don’t want to be a hypocritical momma. When my kids are grown raising their own brood, I want them to think “I hope I can be for my kids what my mother was for me” and not “I hope I am nothing like my mother.” Ouch. Even typing that stings.
So today, how about a little prayer for all my parent friends out there:
Dear Lord, help us to be more like you and less like ourselves. Help us to put aside our shortcomings in order to be the very best moms and dads we can be. Let us look for ways that we can improve our parenting techniques and in so doing improve the quality of life of those in our circle. Most importantly, remind us that we can call on you for help when we feel overwhelmed and under- equipped. In Jesus name, amen.