Monday, January 5, 2015

An Open Letter To The Child-less Critic

So you're in your twenties or thirties, maybe even a later stage of life, and you are without kids.  You see all these parents these days and you think, This is what's wrong with the world today.

Whether at the grocery store or visiting with your nieces and nephews, you realize that all this disrespect and disobedience is a product of lax and lazy parenting.  Maybe they are uneducated, maybe they are just too tired.  Either way, you can't wait to have little angels of your own so you can show them all how it is done.

You are so precious.  Let me enlighten you, dear one.

No childhood experience, babysitting job, or degree will shape your parenting beliefs, convictions, or practices like the twenty-four-seven immersion of a priceless little life that calls you mommy or daddy and looks to you for every need.

I have one of those little brats that you just wish you could get your hands on.  A week with him and you would have him straightened out, right?

Well, in our house, he's not a brat.  We call him strong-willed.  He's a boy who isn't easily swayed.  He doesn't accept ideas just because everyone else accepts them.  He's passionate and wild and lives life as full as he can possibly push it as a four-year-old.

That makes my job tough.  Adventurous, you might say.  But here's the thing about raising one of these little soldiers.  My goal is not to make him flawlessly obedient to my pre-conceived notion of how children should behave, what would make me look good, or what would make my life easier.  My goal is to introduce him to Jesus Christ.  And along with that comes grace.

I want him to know that Jesus paid an ultimate sacrifice for us even while we were still sinners.  We did nothing to deserve it.  Quite the contrary.  We pave the way for that understanding by the way we discipline him now.

I have absolutely no intention of breaking his will because that is the very thing that will make him virtually impervious to peer pressure as a young adult.  That is the very thing that will bolster his leadership.  That is the very thing that will mold him into a friend, husband, and father that will not back down in the face of Satan.  He will rise, he will fight, and he will be victorious when the world threatens and asks if he believes in Christ.

So while he is young, we will pray and follow the Spirit's leading on how to raise this little soldier for Christ no matter what your opinion is.  Don't worry.  We've got this.

While we are chatting, let's remember that children are a work in progress.  Barely on the earth for the blink of an eye and being rushed daily with how to live, behave, and love.  I refuse to look at my toddlers and preschooler and question whether or not they are good enough.  I refuse to question whether or not I am good enough as their chosen parent.

When they fly from my nest as young adults, I will see the fruit of the last 18 years of blood, sweat, and tears.  I know that I will make mistakes, and I know that I will have a lot of victories.  But above all, as I lean on my Heavenly Father for the strength and wisdom to be a Godly mother, I know that I will be able to rest easy when my task is complete.

Let's not forget that you, too, are a work in progress.  The Heavenly Father is not finished with us yet either.  Every day we are being molded, trained, disciplined, and loved into looking a little more like Him.  A dose of humility should do us all a little good when we think we could do it better than others.

God bless you, friend.  And I mean that.  Parenting is an adventure.  Buckle up!

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