What was a quick, flighty gesture turned out to be a very important one. A couple months ago or so a new friend of mine, Diana, allowed me to invite myself over her house for the afternoon. We have a lot in common and enjoyed chatting while she was busy working in the kitchen. We talked some about raising our kids and, in the middle of a thought, she said, “Oh. Have I given you one of these?” and handed me a small magazine; not recognizing it, I replied “no”. “Well this one is for you.” she replied. I took it home and it got thrown in with all the other “somewhat important” mail – not to be thrown away, but certainly not a priority. During the following days and weeks I would often come across it and toss it aside. I just couldn’t bring myself to throw it away somehow, but still didn’t think it worth reading. It wasn’t Diana’s influence that made me put so little importance in the magazine. It was more the fact that I am lazy and only like to read “entertaining” things until I start reading something educational, then I enjoy it.
It was after reading the first article that I realized that I could be a better mom. Couldn’t we all, if you think about it? You know I go on and on about how great my mom was when I was growing up. She is still alive but is more of a friend than a mom. Sure, she will mother me from time to time, but she is more of a friendly chatter; she doesn’t push me. Even so, I can look back with foresight and see clearly the mistakes she made. Taught me to be a glutton? Check. Didn’t teach me to exercise? Check. Does this make her a bad mom? No. Even though some of her mistakes and lack of successes are somewhat important – such as not teaching me to value scripture reading and not making it part of my daily routine – they have been key points in teaching my own children. It is because of my mothers failures that I succeed, essentially. So why do I say I feel like I could be better? Because in this moment I have realized the things I am doing wrong – or many of them anyway. I think if my mom knew each moment what she was really teaching for the future – or not teaching – she might consider herself less than ideal, truth or not.
It has been a constant fear of mine that I will fail my children. I can see the consequences of my parents failures and mistakes, even though I can also see the purposes of those mistakes. I want my children to think of me with love, respect, admiration and appreciation just as I do my own mother. I don’t think that I have to be perfect to earn my children’s love, respect, admiration or appreciation. I do, however, recognize that it takes constant effort towards my best to succeed in training them to seek God’s kingdom; it doesn’t happen by chance. If I gave up thinking it would “all turn out” then it would, but the road would be tougher. And that is really it, folks: the road. I think the only difference between the easy road and the hard road is wisdom. In the end, both roads may take you to the same place, but the person who had the wisdom got there faster and easier and felt much better upon arrival. I’m sure the hard road person is appreciative of the destination, but think of the sweat and blood that could have been avoided with wisdom.
I think of my marriage as I say this. When we first got married we had ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS. I say this not to impress you, but to show you how stupid we were! We didn’t “blow it” on junk and stupid things that we didn’t need. On the contrary, most of it went to things we needed at the time. But with wisdom we might still have much of it left because we could have prioritized and bought slowly and carefully instead of spending it before we had been married 2 years. Will we ever have 100k again? Yes. Would we be happier if we had the wisdom (like say, from Dave Ramsey) BEFORE spending the first 100k? Umm.. yeah!!!
But this is the rub of life: those with wisdom wish they had it before the mistakes; those without wisdom often refuse to listen to the seasoned, post-mistake wise guys. We don’t have time to go on and on about why that is. But I say, “not me!” I am listening to those wise guys and changing myself every day. That, my friend, is why I am a Super Mom and some mom’s are decidedly not. Some mom’s give up before they ever begin. Raising a kid is STINKIN HARD! I submit people only have kids out of ignorance. haha… just kidding, mostly. If I had known how hard life and Christianity would be – I mean REALLY KNOWN – while being married and having kids, I might have done neither. But here I am, married with kids, happy and disgruntled at the same time.
Well I am taking that short, wise road and trusting that is leads to a happier, healthier spirituality, marriage, children and life.
So what did I learn? That ruling your children tyrannically only makes them want to run away screaming, but not leading your children at all is no way to go either.
I encourage you to read much of what I have at www.nogreaterjoy.org. It is Bible-centered and I have yet to read any article I disagree with, though it might exist.
Now, if you will excuse me it is 1 AM and I need sleep so I can have an easier time being Super tomorrow.
3rd John 4