Monday, November 7, 2011

That thumb is squishing me

When our children are young all we want to do is protect them. We do all we can to make sure they are safe. We keep them away from all that we believe could bring harm to them. We try to keep them from all bumps and bruises. But what happens when they get that first bump on the head? That first scrapped knee with stitches? Guilt overcomes us. We wonder, "How did I let that happen?"

When our children get older it becomes a little harder to protect them. They are trying to get out on their own and as parents we try to keep them safe. We set rules and curfews. We say, "No, you can't go to that party", and "Are you crazy? Your not dating that boy!" With three beautiful girls in our home, daddy was always protective. I don't think our children will quite understand until they one day have children of their own. Two of our daughters are proud mamma's of their first children. I don't know, I might even be more protective today of my grand children!

There is a fine line there between protecting and placing your thumb over your children. For me, this was a lesson that took me years to understand. In homeschooling our children we kept them away from things that would harm them, but in reality, when they got out into the world, that only made them want to seek all that was out there even more so.

Those first sleep overs and those first boy friends are things that terrify a momma trying to protect her children. After all, you have been there. You know what's out there. But what about your kids? They don't. Too much protection can be just as hurtful. We must learn to teach our children with the wisdom we have and trust them with all that we have given them. We have to give them the tools they need to know just how to make it out there in the world that is very real and waiting for them.

Our kids are going to make choices that are not wise. I know I sure did when I was young. But in my case, it was those very decisions that led me to growth and maturity. Sure, one wrong decision can change a life forever, but we must be willing to allow our kids to learn some things about life on their own. As parents we are not always going to be here. So, we value our time with our kids and teach them everything we know. We trust the Lord with our children. After all, don't they really belong to Him? He has their best interests at heart. After all, He created them with great love and purpose.

As parents we can't find that purpose for our kids. They have to uncover who they are and just what the Lord has in store for them. All kids are not the same. They all learn in different ways. For me, the very lessons I needed to learn the most I learned on my own, not with my mother standing over me.

The more trust we give our children the more they will gain in life. In standing over them we often give them the image that they can't do anything on their own and all their choices are going to be wrong. Ask any teenager and they will tell you that they wish their parents would just give them room to grow.

In raising my children, I believe through them, God grew me into who I am today. He taught me valuable lessons. We cannot look to our children to fulfill our dreams. We can't make them in who we want them to be. That is something they must figure out. After all, didn't we get that chance?

Learning to let go can be so very hard. We want to hang on so much and protect our children. Remember those very first steps they began to take? Even then they were learning to stand on their own.

I'm not saying, open the door and let them do whatever they want. That would not be good parenting either. But instead of keeping the door shut to all that is out there, why not teach them the lessons that will carry them through, up and over all that is out there?

So, what happens when our children make a wrong decision? We love them through it. We don't come down harder on them. We sure don't coddle them, but we teach them through example. Lifting that thumb will only allow them to learn how to fly. They are going to take a few dives along the way, but with all that you have taught them through the years, they are bound to not only learn great flight strategies, but to soar as they were created to.

Being a parent is hard at times. Oh, the joy that comes with seeing our children learn and grow. We never stop learning. Through every experience life teaches us something of value. If we teach our children to live a faith based life in Jesus Christ they will not forget your words. In fact, they will come back to them.

Our children can see disappoint in our eyes. They can hear it in our words. We must make sure we tell our children we are not disappointed in them, but in their decision. There is a huge difference. With every choice whether good or bad is an opportunity to share a life lesson with them.

After all we are teaching our children to be adults. We are teaching them to be parents. We are teaching them to be leaders in their communities. We are teaching them to leave home one day and lead wonderful lives. That takes a great deal of unconditional love and trust. We must give them room to make mistakes. It is through that room they will learn wisdom that will carry them through life.

As parents we can do a lot less talking and a lot more listening to our kids. They don't need us making a list of all they cannot do, but supplying them with room to dream. That too means giving them room to make wrong choices. As parents we can't have it both ways. We will not raise perfect children. After all, they don't have perfect parents.

"Direct your children onto the right path and when they are older, they will not leave it." Proverbs 22:6

"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.' 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." Ephesians 6:1-4

"Three things will last forever-faith, hope, and love-and the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13
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