I want to start by saying I don’t ever appreciate the sanctimonious parents who sit up on high, with college graduates who are working in the mission field, telling me ‘train up my child the way she should go…’ I do appreciate a good mentor mom, but not so much the moms who want to speak into my situation without becoming part of my everyday life. Especially not the moms who want to act like it was perfection the whole way. Be real with me, lady. Tell me about the days you slumped against your door and cried for 45 minutes, completely sure you were screwing it all up. Then we can talk.
So if I start sounding like that mom please stop reading. I am not worthy of your insanely busy life and the precious few minutes it will take to read this. I’m a mom, I get it. If you have any time to be blessed by a blog, it better show up and bless you.
Having said that, I have to share a small astonishment that happened to me this weekend. I lifted my head up for a bit from some work I wanted to get done in the morning before starting the rest of the day. Of course that took me longer than it should have and it was almost lunch time. I went into the kitchen, where I had put a list of chores I wanted the girls to do. I looked at the list, I looked around the house, and the chores were done.
It was awesome.
I say this because my life, perhaps like yours, is too often marinated in nagging. I hate it and my kids hate it, and on some open window days I am sure my neighbors hate it. Yet it creeps in there. Despite my best efforts to keep it out, it overtakes me like a tidal wave and creates an atmosphere nobody likes. This morning I did something different. I made the list, showed them the list, and walked away. Did stuff get done as quickly as I would have liked? No. But who cares?? It got done with no nagging.
Lest you think I actually had an epiphany about a new approach to parenting, I will tell you I wrote those lists down as much for myself as for them. I have been known to forget what the heck I wanted them to do and then the day is over and I end up doing it all myself. So this was a little bit about my mom brain and a little bit about being too tired and too busy to ride them until the stuff got done. And that’s the humble truth. I mean, if I can’t be honest with you I should throw in the blog towel. But I will say this: making a choice not to nag and instead to walk away and trust my kids was intentional. Motivated a little by laziness? Possibly, but intentional nonetheless. They are at the age where this stuff should be sinking in, so I guess in some way I was testing whether it had.
This is one of those quiet moments when God reassures me to keep doing what I’m doing. My husband and I do a pretty good (not perfect) job of talking to the girls about responsibility and kindness and all that stuff. We do a lot of talking about Jesus and the Bible and the way God wants us to live. We do pray together as a family but we don’t do family devotionals (I would love a recommendation if you have one, especially for families with teens) and we mess up the role model thing a lot, both in our words and in our deeds. Could our best actually turn out to be good enough? Most days I worry that’s not the case. Ok, every day. But sometimes, when I least expect it, God comforts me by allowing me to see glimpses of the good stuff getting in there with my girls. So I want to encourage you too. It’s getting in there.
I am so crazy about my girls and who they are becoming. I am so crazy about my God and who He is making me to be.
The most astonishing thing about parenting God’s way is how it draws me closer to Him. How He shows me Himself in big and small ways through this awesome job of mom. I love Matthew 7:11: “ If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
What a loving God we serve.
And oh yeah, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” that’s Proverbs 22:6, and I’m still holding on to it by my teeth.
Holly Lazzaro is part of a weekly radio program and podcast called “Study With Friends,” a unique format of 4-5 different women each week, gathering around the Bible to study God’s Word. With organic conversation and authentic personalities, it’s a fresh offering on the Christian airwaves. For more information or to listen to the program, visit our bible study page.