Remember, you are not managing an inconvenience; You are raising a human being ~ Kittie Frantz
I saw the quote above recently, and it really made me think. How often do I treat my dear sweet children as “inconveniences?” Exactly when did they go from precious blessings entrusted to me by God to small, loud, challenging things sent by God to interrupt my day? (Probably when they started to talk, but that’s really beside the point.)
I remember being pregnant the first time. I remember the excitement and joy at the thought of a baby! MY baby! A sweet, beautiful, precious living creature. I remember holding Jonathan for the very first time. They placed him on my chest, and he was crying. Tears came to my eyes, and I remember thinking, “I wish you would never have to cry again in your life.” The instinct to protect him kicked in immediately.
Granted all of parenting is not sunshine and roses. My sweet, precious babies are little sinners. Just like me. And, sinners put together means arguments and discord. My children need me to teach them to behave, and that is not fun, for anyone. I am responsible for raising them and for teaching them about obedience. I am responsible for showing them and teaching them about God’s grace and mercy. I am also responsible for my own attitude.
When I start getting irritated at my children, I’m trying to ask myself a few questions. What exactly about their behavior is getting on my nerves? Are they sinning? If so, I should get off my tush and deal with it, and not just sit here and hope it stops. (or yell until it does) Am I expecting behavior that is not age appropriate? (for example, is a 6 year-old boy going to need to run off energy, or can he sit still all day?) Am I mad at them because they want my attention, and I want to do something else? Am I showing them the same grace and mercy that God shows me every day, even though I start sinning again immediately after I ask for forgiveness?
Parenting is hard. There are lots of rewards, but the day to day life of it is often not fun at all. It’s work to take care of others and put their needs first. It’s painful to watch my child struggle with sin, especially when it mirrors my own behavior. How can I change my attitude so that I am not constantly frustrated?
For me, I am trying hard to focus on God’s grace. It’s such a beautiful thing. “For while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom. 5:8. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom. 6:23. We don’t get what we deserve. We get grace. That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t deal with our sin, nor does it mean that we can just forget about discipline with our children. But it does mean that my attitude towards my children should be one of grace. The discipline I show them should be out of love and not anger. I should see my children as the blessings they are, and not as “inconveniences.”