I want to create a home where my children’s personalities are embraced instead of constantly judged. I want my mothering to communicate to them, You belong. You fit. You can be exactly who God made you to be, and our family is better because you are here.”
~52 Things Kids Need From A Mom, Angela Thomas
When I read this, something in my heart went BOOM. I had to stop and re-read it a few times.
Since becoming a mother, there are always more things that I’m discovering need my energy and attention. Some of them have a higher priority than others, but all of them important. Things like preparing healthy meals, creating a warm, loving, grace-filled environment, reading books, cleaning house, etc. etc. etc. etc. There are so many things.
But when I read these words, I knew in my heart, “That’s it! That is the most important!”
If I teach my children about Jesus, but deep down they don’t feel loved and accepted for who they are – it’s nothing.
If I invest in guitar lessons, nice clothes and fun excursions, but I act like, even subtly, like I wish they would just be a little more like so-and-so – I damage a fragile heart.
Being a mom is such a privileged and it’s terrifying. Why someone would entrust me to shape a life…sometimes I don’t know.
It can be hard. Lately, my beautiful little strong-willed boy sometimes acts like he’s a sixty-five year old man stuck in a 16 month-old body. He wants his independence and he wants it now and he wishes I would just stop hindering him from doing all the amazing things he wants to do all day long. If he isn’t free of boundaries to explore, this kid gets feisty like a tiger in a cage at the zoo. And he bites like one too!
I think the common response is that, “It’s just a stage, you know. It will pass.” This is true, but it doesn’t help me be a better mom in the moment.
What does help me in the moment: knowing that I need to help shape this boy, not change him. I need to accept him – every little detail and part of him – and I need to get to work doing the tedious, repetitive and painfully patient work of shaping him.
I don’t want my home to push my children towards perfection, but I want them to learn to pursue growth. I want to create an environment where no one is afraid of being judged or rejected, but everyone is secure and can therefore pursue growth and know that when they fail, they’ll have a soft place to land. Isn’t that what grace is? Living in an environment where you’re not afraid that your mistakes and shortcomings will destroy your relationship with a parent (or with God) When you’re celebrated, it gives you fuel to fly.