Let’s face it and be real here. Parenting is not easy. In fact, it is the hardest job we will ever have. No one gives us an instruction manual when our children are born. Fact is, they can’t because there isn’t one. Each child is different and each scenario with each child within each family is unique. Good parenting is also not “instant” and “without failure”. We don’t know what we don’t know. We must get “on the job training” for this position that is ongoing and often “on the fly”. Truthfully, we will faulter and miss the mark just like we will find we stumble into a what or a how that is good and works….A LOT.
Yes, there are basic principles and guidelines but all in all, parenting is a whole heap of winging it as we wade through the new and never before experiences to learn how to parent and train our children in the way they should go. We are maturing, learning and growing right along with our kids. I’m not going to lie to you. There are cloudy days, windy days and even stormy days. But there are also days full of sunshine when the sailing is easy. Those tend to be far more and much brighter than you may think while in the midst of the cloudy, windy or stormy days.
Sometimes, parenting will mean we will have to make hard choices. Choices that our heart and mind does not easily embrace, but are necessary for the good of our child, our family, ourselves and the future. And then sometimes, it’s a breeze with no confusion as we ease through one situation to another. Every day brings us moments of “I have never been here before.” with us not knowing what to do or say or how to act and react. That’s okay. It’s all part of the process of learning to parent and our children learning from us. We have to give ourselves and our children grace in the process of learning.
I must also say, contrary to what some may believe, parenting doesn’t really stop when our kids reach 18 years old or graduate from school. It is a lifetime position that we take on from the very first. We still “parent” our kids ling after the wonder and wander years subside. Our position and job description changes a bit as the hands-on guidance, instruction and leadership decreases to a lesser degree as they step up and into their own just like we did. That is the goal, right? To prepare them for adulthood, training and raising them to be an asset to their world and step into their own identity and splendor? That’s how I see it anyways. Truthfully, our children never stop needing us and looking to us for an example. It all just changes in how it looks and how we all go about it. Our role of “parent” shifts from authority to assistant. And here again, we have to give ourselves and our children grace in the shift.
So moms and dads, let me encourage you to stand in the knowledge and understanding that as you grow and learn to parent well, you are not alone and without help or hope. There are solutions and places you can turn to when in need of more to go farther. There is help in times of trouble and sources of encouragement in times of discouragement.
We need wisdom to impart wisdom. Wise counsel can be found in friends and others who are like-minded with compatible values and beliefs. So many in our small part of the world may have been there, done that and are on the other side of the lesson in similar circumstances. This is a great avenue for insight, workable solutions and encouragement if we are willing to lay down our pride and fears, share our hearts and situations honestly. Just being real and vulnerable, asking for advice, help and inspiration can be a solution all on its own.
Without a doubt, wisdom and revelation can be obtained through prayer and most certainly through the word of God. In fact, I personally think these are the sources where all wisdom comes from, even when it comes to us from a vessel with skin on. The word of God is the closest thing to an instruction manual we will ever find for parenting and for living. If you need an answer to a question or a solution to a problem, it is in His word…somewhere. If you just need encouragement, you’ll find that in the pages too.
One of my favorite quotes (shown above) is by the greatly admired Maya Angelou. She said, “When you know better, you do better.” Isn’t that where we all are and what we are all doing? Yes, I think so. I think we are all reaching for the “know better” so we can “do better”. …with parenting and with life in general.