Wednesday, February 22, 2012

On why I don't want to just raise a good child

My daughter, Hope, is a senior this year. And she decided her senior year should be adventurous and a little out of the “normal” box. A lot out of the box actually.

She withdrew from traditional school. Applied with the state to homeschool. Enrolled in on-line college courses that would allow her to get both high school and college credit simultaneously. And planned to spend the month of January serving in Nicaragua doing missions.

This didn’t surprise me really. Because Hope has always liked charting her own course.

When she was really little I was scared to death I was the world’s worst mom, because Hope was never one to be contained. And I honestly thought all her extra tenacity was a sign of my poor mothering.

One day I took her to the mall to meet several of my friends with toddlers to grab lunch. All of their kids sat quietly eating cheerios in their strollers. They shined their halos and quoted Bible verses and used tissues to wipe their snot.

Not Hope.

She was infuriated by my insistence she stay in her stroller. So, when I turned away for a split second to place our lunch order, she wiggled free. She stripped off all her clothes. She ran across the food court. And jumped in the fountain in the center of the mall.

Really nothing makes the mother of a toddler feel more incapable than seeing her naked child splashing in the mall fountain. Except maybe that toddler refusing to get out and said mother having to also get into the fountain.

I cried all the way home.

Not because of what she’d done that day. But rather because of how she was everyday. So determined. So independent. So insistent.

I would beg God to show me how to raise a good child. One that stayed in her stroller. One that other people would comment about how wonderfully behaved she was. One that made me look good.
But God seemed so slow to answer those prayers. So, over the years, I changed my prayer. ”God help me to raise Hope to be who you want her to be.” Emphasis on, “God HELP ME!”

I think I changed my prayers for her because God started to change my heart. I started sensing He had a different plan in mind for my mothering of Hope.

Maybe God’s goal wasn’t for me to raise a good rule following child. God’s goal was for me to raise a God-following adult. An adult just determined and independent and insistent enough to fulfill a purpose He had in mind all along.

I don’t know what mama needs to hear this today. But let me encourage you from the bottom of my heart with 3 simple mothering perspectives you must hang on to:

1. Don’t take too much credit for their good.
2. Don’t take too much credit for their bad.
3. Don’t try to raise a good child. Raise a God-following adult.

And all the mamas of fountain dancing children said, “Amen!”
by Lisa TerKeurst

I read this story a few weeks ago.  Someone had shared it on Facebook from Lisa's TerKeurst's blog.  As I read her words, I could not believe what I was reading.  It was so dead-on to my life with my children that I read it over and over again.   Isn't it so true how we measure our worth against other people's opinions?   Opinions of our children and their behavior.  Our home and it's condition.  Our career or lack there of.  The status of our marriage.  The car we drive.  The size of our jeans.  The number of commitments we hold.  We're constantly being critiqued by someone... and we care.  We're constantly being critiqued by ourselves.  And we listen.

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My Allie Beth is the little girl in this story.  She is not one to necessarily make me look good.   I am slowly realizing that I'm not measured by what other's think about my children .  I don't have to immediately give a disclaimer on why they are who they are.   Or who they're not.  The only view that matters is His. 

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And the same principle goes with every aspect of my life.   Of your life.   We should never feel threatened by false insecurities placed in us by other's opinions.   I was reminded today by a dear sweet friend of the age-old saying about how pretty much everybody has an opinion.  {Thanks T!}  But ain't it the truth?!

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So love yourself.   The person God made.....after HiS own image.   And love those children that He has placed in your care.   Love them for who He has made them to be.   Appreciate your home.  Your status.   Your jean size.   If God prompts you to "improve" on something, then improve.  But otherwise, cut yourself some slack. 

"Don't try to raise a good child.   Raise a God-following adult."


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh I so needed this post tonight! Thank you so much for sharing!!
Amy Bryan