Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Courageous Parenting

Things have been interesting lately.  Monday night, I think I might have broken my toe.  I slipped in a puddle (of water, thankfully!) Luke made in the bathroom while I was trying in vain to clean up the blue paint he dumped on the carpet. He "spilled" because he was mad at me for fussing at him for biting his brother, whom he was taking out his aggression on after I lectured him.  This said lecture was for my feisty four year old screaming, "I DON'T LOVE YOU!!!".  That outburst was in response to me asking him to clean his room. 

Ironically, I wanted him to clean his room so I wouldn't trip and fall on his toys. 

Luke is totally giving me a run for my money right now.  He can be such a sweetheart but then we have episodes like Monday afternoon and I realize how parenting is definitely not a job for the faint-hearted! 

My lesson that I am learning right now is the importance of praying for our children; there is no magic formula to make them understand the lessons that I am trying to instill nor can I effect change in their hearts single handedly.  I have to trust God with them as He loves them even more than I do (hard to imagine!) and continue to be the person that I am supposed to be in Christ-likeness for both my and their sakes. 

Even though I think I am generally patient, I think God is teaching me to be more so and in the craziness, I have even more opportunity to model this virtue courageously to our boys. 

I love what C.S. Lewis said in the Screwtape Letters:  "Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point... A chastity or honesty, or mercy, which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only on conditions." 

I don't want to give in at the testing point, as Lewis said, and show my boys, especially Luke right now, that we only have to be patient up to a certain point when the cost becomes too painful.  Or, in his case, obedience is good only so long as it is something that you want to do anyway. 

The big parent "secret" my boys don't know is that I really am not as concerned with their behavior.  I care about their character and as a strong character develops, I know their behavior will follow.  It is hard though on days like these to keep the focus on character when behavior spirals out of control!  However, that is where the patience comes in!

My goal with my three boys is to raise them to be strong and courageous men of God.  To get there, I need to be a courageous mom for them.  I just hope my next opportunity to model it doesn't involve puddles, blue paint, or biting though.  Because, at some point, I will run out of fully functioning toes and I would rather my carpet not be permanently tinted blue.  However, knowing my little Gremlin, he'll come up with something else really "creative"!

As a wonderful update on Luke's story, please click to read "An Answer to Prayer"

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