And when he is old he will not depart from it.”
I do not claim to be a perfect parent. I fail. Daily. I see my failings and acknowledge them. I strive for better.
Not too long ago I was upset by a review of a Bible study that said that God required of us perfection not imperfect progress. I knew immediately that this person was not someone I could relate to. I am most definitely imperfect progress. I progress. I fail. I try harder and progress some more. Everything about ME is imperfect and all that is perfect lies solely in our Heavenly Father.
The point of this is the word “progress”.
Definition of PROGRESS
a (1) :
a royal journey marked by pomp and pageant (2) :
a state procession
b : a tour or circuit made by an official (as a judge)
c : an expedition, journey, or march through a region
a forward or onward movement (as to an objective or to a goal) : advance
gradual betterment; especially :
development of humankind
I am speaking specifically of definitions 2 & 3. I know who, somewhat, I want to be. I know the morals and values I want my family to have. I work towards those.
I am already better than I was. I will almost certainly never achieve my perfect ideal for two reasons. First is that I’m not perfect. I do fail. Second is that once goals are achieved, then it’s time to set new goals.
As I move forward I can see the things behind me with a clarity that I didn’t have when I was facing them. The whole hindsight is 20/20 thing. God has definitely guided more and more of my choices as I’ve released more of me to HIS will. I do not take credit for the good in my life. It’s all HIM.
My children. In the beginning, I was told how strict I am and how I was going to “break their will”. I’ve heard “boys will be boys” and “kids will be kids”. I’ve also heard “the proof is in the pudding”. I get approached by people who struggle with their children’s behaviors looking for advice. I can usually tell quickly if they are willing to make changes.
Changes. A small example of what we experienced was with a TV show called Caillou. The girls used to LOVE that show. I could get the kitchen cleaned and have peace and quiet if they were just parked in front of that show. Then the behavior started. They whined when they didn’t get their way. They became argumentative, started back talking, and had tantrums. These were not my children. I finally actually WATCHED Caillou myself and was shocked. They were mimicking this child’s behavior! My eyes were opened. We cut that show and began to pay close attention to what they were watching. I stopped taking it for granted that this network or that network was ok. After about a month of not being allowed to watch that show, they would still ask, but the behavior was gone. So was my peace and quiet and clean kitchen, but it was worth it.
From then on we have observed everything. We screen their TV, their books, their music, and even their friends. We try to expose them to what we DO want them to mimic.
As they’ve gotten older, more questionable stuff is allowed, but we talk about it. We have conversations that make clear where we stand. This is essential to prepare them for the world and to prepare them to make the choices that only they will be able to make.
My oldest turned 18 last week. I have no idea what it’s like to have a disrespectful teen. He’s never spoken to me with anger. When he has issues, he doesn’t hesitate to sit down and ask if we can talk. I praise God for this fantastic young man, with his quirky sense of humor, and pray that God will continue to guide and bless him.
I can only hold their hands for such a short period of time when I look out over their lives. I’ve held it tightly in both of mine. My prayer is that they’ll always remember the warmth of my embrace and feel that I guided them as lovingly as I could onto the right path.