I know what you’re thinking.
Great! Another parenting advice article.
Yeah, I know. There’s like tons of parenting “experts” out there eager to share their knowledge. So you don’t need another one of those. I mean, who can keep it all straight?! Do you avoid fatty foods or just gluten? Is it really the red dye that’s making my kid hyper? Screen time bad, but learning apps good? I’m so confused!
Yet here you are, opening yet another link with promises of parenting gold. Why is that?!
Well, it’s because you need it. I need it! We’re all just muddling through trying to figure this thing out. Y’all, parenting is hard! If I had a dollar for every time I’ve questioned if I’m screwing this all up, I’d have like enough money to buy at least two of those huge LOL balls. Maybe I’d get a rare. But I digress.
Point is, there’s so much advice out there, but even when you follow it to the tee it doesn’t seem to work out like the pictures show. It’s like our circumstances are unique, our kids their own animal, and none of the parenting blogs have an addendum for your child who’s scared of being trapped in a dressing room or getting lost in the woods. It doesn’t account for that last baby who really broke the mold on everything you just thought you knew.
What you do know is you gotta build their self-esteem. Everyone says so! Gentle parenting, pounds of praise, and give them the ability to decide for themselves the path they’ll take.
Wait, who is this little diva?
What have I done?
Do I need to do a timeout?
Maybe we should talk about our feelings?
They must be lacking in my validation of their emotions.
Do I spank them?
I mean, my parents spanked me, and I’m ok. Right?!
Perhaps they need a social outlet with which to work out their frustration!
What if we just need counseling?
Is it a disorder? Let me Google that!
Experiencing teamwork and discipline should do the trick! Softball signups here we come.
I probably should read to them more. It’s my fault they’re struggling in school. I should have done more Baby Einstein and less Dora the Explorer.
How will they ever get into the perfect college? Speaking of which, I still haven’t started that college fund! Have you seen how much tuition runs nowadays? It’s insane!
But first, I have to upgrade our life insurance. Something could happen to me at any moment. Then where would they be financially?!
They won’t even be able to buy the clothes they need. And clothes are so expensive! I mean, cause it needs to be Under Armor or Adidas, and definitely Matilda Jane. Maybe Well Dressed Wolf! I just don’t want them to be made fun of.
Yes, that’s it. If I can make sure they’re well-dressed, get the best education, and are accepted by their peers, then we’re good. Hey, don’t judge me for that last one! No one wants their kid to be the weirdo who gets bullied.
In fact, they need to know how to stand up for themselves, don’t take any crap off anyone, and be the best! There is no second place. Weakness is for losers. Right?!
Okay, so if they can be popular and get included in all the birthday parties they’ll be good. As long as I make sure their birthday party is the biggest and best. Check.
As long as they can make the team, win the state championship, blow the ACT/SAT out of the water.
But hey, I have daughters, so I need to be thinking about dating. They need to find a man who can provide, preferably from an upstanding family. If they can get the big house with the picket fence, 2-1/2 gorgeous kids, and a puppy to boot they’ll be all set. We should start scouting neighborhoods now. And it’s never too early to build a great credit score.
I really just need them to know how special and beautiful they are. Not too fat, not too skinny. The perfect package. They’re wonderful just the way they are. If I can cultivate that within them then they’ll be set for a happy life. My job will be complete. I can rest easy in my empty nest knowing I’ve built confident, smart, ambitious young women. Thank goodness. That was hard!
But I wonder… does it have to be so hard? Do I need to hit all those marks to make amazing children blossom?
I mean, things rarely do go my way. They’re often out of control, with hiccups, hangups, and unexpected snags. If only there was someone greater than me to set forth their path in life! To ensure a prosperous future!
Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
Do you want to know the truth of it? I’m a mess! I cannot be solely responsible to create awesome kids. I mean, you should have seen me in high school. Sheesh. So, when I am faced with the monumental task of raising the next generation I grapple for guidance.
God, help me!
I pray for wisdom because that’s really what I need. And not wisdom for which prep school to pick or extracurricular activity to enroll in. I pray for wisdom to guide each child in the way that God has for them, to show them the path to a closer walk with Jesus, and to cultivate within them the character of Christ. Sure, I’m teaching them kindness, servanthood, and love, but those are really just side effects of loving the Lord.
I don’t know who my daughters are going to grow up to be, but He does. I don’t want my desires for them. I want His desires for them. My girls belong to God. He just lets me raise them for Him. So my biggest goal for my children is that they will grow closer to the Lord and become the women He desires them to be. All that other stuff? It’s pretty inconsequential in the grand scheme. In the Kingdom View, wearing eternity lenses, it’s all pretty distracting from the core of what I need in my parenting style.
Raising children is hard enough without letting worldly views keep me from seeing the prize. If I can place my daughters in the hands of God, He will ensure their success. And it might not always look like success. Not in society’s eyes anyway. What the world sees as weakness in our children, God uses as strength. When the world sees a mess, God sees beauty, ripe for His refining.
So when it comes down to it, the only thing our children really need in this world is a closer walk with Jesus, one where they are open to His plans for their life. For those plans, they never fail.