Saturday, October 4, 2014

You're Still Learning Too

You’re Still Learning Too

If you have kids, you know they are wonderful. When they’re still small, there’s nothing quite like their smiles and giggles, their hugs and their handmade little drawings. And as they grow older it is such a joy to watch their unique personality and humor develop and see them grow into adulthood. 

If you have kids, you know they are wonderful. You know they are also incredibly frustrating. They challenge you. They test you. They push your buttons. They can be ungrateful. And on top of that, they eat all your food and spend all your money!

Parenting is a joy, but it is also one of the greatest challenges that we experience in life. Far too often, we get stuck in a parenting style that many learned from their parents—the old ‘stand there and listen to me lecture’ (and maybe even yell a little) ‘and tell you about the realities of life.’ And if the child doesn’t seem like they are paying attention, we just lecture a little longer so as to drive our point home. 

Apart from the fact that this style of parenting is mostly ineffective (remember how well it worked with you?), it does little more than to put us in a position of superiority where we end up portraying to our children that we learned this very lesson long ago and “why can’t they hurry up and learn it too?” 

The other day I was, yet again, frustrated with one of my kids because they gave up too soon (like they tried once and quit when they ran into a little difficulty) on a task I had assigned to them. Now, there is no doubt that one of the things that all of our children need to learn is how to solve problems. Resourcefulness and problem solving is an incredibly important skill in life. 

But I had a moment of revelation as I was telling them how they needed to problem solve before they quit next time. And as I droned on and on, I realized (perhaps God speaks to me too) that I was still dealing with that exact same tendency to give up too soon in my own life. Sure, I was a little further along then my kid, but, wasn’t it just last week that I gave up when that challenge took me longer than I thought it should? Didn’t I get frustrated and walk away? And here I am lecturing as if I’ve got this one down pat.

This changed my whole perspective. Maybe the very things I was teaching my kids, were the same things I was still learning? Maybe the way I needed to talk with them was not like a general commanding, but rather a friend encouraging? Of course, I will still hold them accountable and all that, but I am seeking to change the tone I use from resident expert, to friendly guide.

Romans 12:10 says, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” I believe this applies to our kids as much as it does to anyone else. 

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