Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Words to our children
When our children disobey we often remind them that they are to obey their parents. Oh, how we love to remind them of that, don't we? We turn to Ephesians 6:1-3 "Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. Honor your father and mother. This is the first commandment with a promise. If you honor your father and mother, things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth."
There is something we forget though. It's like we get to verse three and we just stop. After all, this verse is speaking to our children, right? Lets let our eyes scroll down just a little into verse 4. "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord."
Parents, the words we speak to our children have a lasting impact. A life long impact. We can raise our children with encouragement or we can tear them down with thoughtless words. All it takes is one. I remember all the loving words I have spoken to my children throughout the years. But I too remember those words I spoke in the moment of anger. Which left more of an impact? Good question.
It's tough raising kids. I know. My husband and I have raised five children. There have been highs and lows. Great moments to remember forever and some you would rather forget. I often feel like we are not really raising our children at all, but they in fact are raising us. Don't we grow? Oh my, from that first child to our last there is such a difference. Not in love of course, but in who I grew to become.
I watch my children in awe today. I am blessed with beautiful children. They simply take my breath away. It seemed so easy when they were small. They would take my hand, crawl up into my arms and kiss my cheek. Sure, you have those days where you are stressed and so tired you can keep your eyes open, but all is right with just looking into the eyes of your precious children. They soon grow and those teenage years are hard on everyone. Think about it. They are trying to figure themselves out and you are trying to figure out how to raise them. Their emotions are on the forefront of life. Every emotion is alive and well and yes, they seem to change from day to day. As they wake your wondering, "What is today going to bring?" Ever wonder what they are thinking? "Is mom gonna scream at me today because I didn't clean my room? Is dad gonna tell me how lazy I am again?" Parents we are not the only people with worries and stress. Our kids feel it too. Many times more often then we. They walk on egg shells when mom and dad seem to not get along. Once the yelling begins imagine how they feel? Should they choose a side or should they just hide out in their room?
Sure, our kids talk on the phone. They text late up into the night. They fall in love every other day of the week. They want to go to the football game. They want to stay all night with Chrystal. We like to remind them of all we do. I know that guilt game. My mom played it with me. My husband still lives today with scars of the guilt game his parents played. He can't even purchase anything for himself. He gets downright sick. Why? His parents made him feel so guilty when they bought him something that he never thought he deserved it. That breaks my heart.
Today, things are different with our kids. Gosh, being a teen was hard enough when I was young, but now? They go to school and many times it isn't a place they want to be. It's bad enough if they have teachers who are unkind, the bus ride home is murder to them, and all they want to do is come home to safe. Home is safe to our kids, but how often to we make them feel like home isn't even where they want to be?
The teenage years were not easy on my daughters and I. It was down right ugly sometimes. Oh, the love was there. But the miscommunication was in everything. Mostly because I felt the need to talk and not listen. Today I wish I would have spent much more time listening. Parents take my advice. Being right doesn't always have to be proved. In fact, it is downright not necessary. Our kids have such a tough time anyway. They know when they mess up. They don't need us reminding them of every thing they didnt' do and all they need to do. Our kids might look like adults today, but they don't have minds of forty year old. They don't have it all figured out. They don't even know what they will have for breakfast most of the time.
They want to be loved and they want to fit in. Most of the time it is a job trying to fit in at school. You would think at home they wouldn't have to try. But what do they hear? Words like, lazy, useless, mean, and yes, some hear how stupid they are. The one word we teach our children not to say, we often say to them. Those words cut deep. How do I know? My mom loved to share words with me in anger. After your called stupid for so long you kind of just give up after a while. I mean, why try anyway, right? Your gonna mess up and here comes the yelling all over again.
Parents, what we do in moderation our children will do in excess. We are their examples. Most of all we are the people who love them the most. We need to be accountable when we mess up too. They need to see mom and dad cry and say, "I am so sorry." They need to see us make right our wrongs. We don't need to stand above them, but stand next to them. We need to be the people they respect. You cannot have honor without respect. Sure, they can obey us, but should it be because we are making them or because they want to out of love? A house is not a home without love surrounding it.
I know, I hear you. You say, "But you don't know my child." I have been there, my friend. But changes are you don't either. As parents we like to set our rules and we simply expect our kids to follow them. There is more to life than rules and there is much more to parenting than always being right. Many times our kids are in a state of bad attitude because of our attitude. Our attitudes and actions overflow to them. Each and every choice we make effects our kids. Think of that for a minute. When we let the stress of this world get to us, our kids see that. They feel it. They know when we are overwhelmed. They need to feel comfort. We gotta remember we are the parent and we gotta stand up and act like it even when it's hard. Even in those times we don't know what to do or where to go.
As parents we can spend too much time thinking about our own needs and wants instead of thinking about the needs of our child. Parents, this world influences every aspect of our kids. It's like a war out there. We need to be the biggest influence in our children's life. We need to be the ones making that impact. We seem to expect so very much out of our children. The thing is, are we meeting their expectations? Are we being the parent they need?
The beautiful thing about our children is they are forgiving. They at times seem to carry way more grace than we show in our lives. They know about mistakes and all they want to do is move away from them and do something different. Today is a new day. Maybe your child needs to hear you tell them how you have messed up and how much you love them. Maybe they need to hear the words, "I'm so sorry." We need to own our words and be the bigger person. Our children once looked up into our eyes and felt such comfort. Now they look at us in the eye and they expect no more or no less from us now.