“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Raising kids is hard. Also, the Pope is Catholic. Some things we all just know and accept, but they still bear repeating. Parenting is hard and every mom thinks she has failed on some level or another. And every child grows into an adult who can tell you at least one story about how their mother failed them at some point. I could tell you plenty of stories from my own childhood, but my parents might read this and I don’t want to embarrass them. And listen, I don’t want to make this into some thinly veiled competition wherein we decide who had the worst childhood, but my father scratches the inside of his ear with his fork handle. At the dinner table. During the meal. Hold me.
My oldest child is a high school senior so we’re in that new phase where we’re teaching her to drive and discussing college options. Which is weird because five minutes ago she was a wild toddler standing on top of her dresser while throwing picture books and toys out her 2nd story window instead of napping. (My husband nailed her windows shut that night.) Everyone warns you that it goes fast, but you can’t understand that until it happens to you I guess. I’m starting to feel a touch of panic, like I’m going into the home stretch of raising my daughter and wondering if I taught her enough. I took her to church, I sent her to church camp, I encouraged her to pray and read the Bible. I did all the right big-ticket items that I could think of. But I have a feeling that it has been the small things, the short talks about our faith in the car, the hugs after a rough day, the prayers together for a friend that was hurting that she will remember more than all my carefully-thought-out lectures. I have heard it said that it’s not what we say but how we live out our faith daily that our kids will learn from. I often ask God to help me do that, to show me how to teach my kids to walk daily with Jesus, and to turn to His Word for all things.
“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7
I love this passage because it doesn’t talk about getting it exactly right, but to make God’s commands a part of the daily fabric of your life. Our kids need to see that our faith touches every part of our lives, and therefore their lives as well. There are probably a million different ways to live out your faith and teach your kids about God, but remember to give yourself some grace, and accept that you will never be a perfect parent. Instead, let your imperfections help your kids to see that God loves us in spite of them, and that we are all a work in progress.