For the following reasons, I don’t want to get angry with my kids anymore when they disobey:
1. Their behavior is not a reflection of me. Often, I think it is. What have I done wrong? Where have I failed as a mom? How did I screw this up? When I take it personally, I get scared and insecure, and that leads to anger. I know I haven’t been perfect, but I also understand that they have individual choices.
2. I cannot ultimately control them. Even though I think I’d like to, I have to release their little hearts to God. He is the blessed controller of all things. I can create an environment that will encourage growth and love, but I cannot make them good. Sinning in response to their sin will only make things worse by setting a bad example.
3. I must not make my own personal peace and happiness an idol. What is an idol? Something I’ll sin – disobey God – to get. So when I get sinfully angry when my children mess up my perfect Saturday morning by arguing over who has the bigger pancake, I’m telling God that I’m not happy with the day He planned for me. I tell him, “I’m mad! I’m going to yell, even though you tell me not to, because my personal plan for my day was wrecked.” It’s ok to want peace, but peace in my heart comes from being content with God’s plan for me.
4. I cannot save my children. My good parenting will not necessarily equate to good kids. If that were the case, as some parenting books seem to indicate, then what happened to the children of so many God-loving people in the Bible? As my Pastor says, we create a ground that is fertilized and tilled, but God causes the growth.
Besides, it’s exhausting. I mean, isn’t it?
Instead, I pray I will do the following:
1. Prayerfully use their bad behavior as an opportunity to show them the grace Jesus offers in the midst of our sin. If Jesus came for the sick, their disobedience is a great opportunity to take them to their Spiritual Doctor.
2. Pray more. Because I know that I cannot, in any way, do this on my own. When the angry lion rises in me, I’ll cry, “Help! I’m mad! I need your power, God!” I love my kids, but oh dear, I’ll probably be praying a lot…
3. Notice growth and thank God for it. “I’m so glad God’s teaching you responsibility – look at how you put your shoes away!”
In writing this, I know I won’t be able to do it perfectly. I’m not bragging like “I’m perfect! I’ve got it all figured out!” If I did, would I need to write this post? Seriously.
No, I’ll forget and fail and well, that’s just a part of our life in this age. So please be kind when you see me angrily scolding my child in the check-out line at Target. Thanks. 🙂
There are more reasons for sure. What are yours?