The Parent Pressure Trap
What kind of pressure are you feeling right now? the pressure to be a good parent? the pressure to make sure your child turns out godly and well-rounded? the pressure to be intentional, even?
The first problem is you. You can’t be a perfect parent. You will not be godly in all of your decisions. You will fail, and fail often, as you raise your child. Its not in your control to make him a godly child. Doing everything right doesn’t work. But, oh, how we want it to. Of course we do. And that is were we get into trouble. We start to focus on the results, rather than on God. We want godly kids, rather than be goldly parents, or even just to know God better. Trying to constantly do it right leads to pressure. We can only learn to rest when we give up the illusion of control.
In other words, when we trust in God rather than our frustrated attempts at perfect parenting then we can and are privileged to live this free life because of Christ. But, oh, how quickly we forget. Parenting is so much less about me and so much more about God.
It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you dont use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; thats how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s word is issued up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That is an act of true freedom ( Galatians 5:1, 13-15 MSG)
– Intentional Parenting (autopilot is for planes) by Sissy Goff and Melissa Trevathan
I was reading this part of the book and i can’t help but to read it over and over and over again. Oh how true it felt.
The other day at home, as we go about our usual play time with Ethan and Caitie, our little boy as usual, would put just about every toy inside his mouth. One time as he was chewing on Caitie’s toy, she tried to pull it out of Ethan’s mouth then she pushed him on the forehead as he fell on the rubber matting.
I pulled her aside and told her that we needed to talk. We went to our room and I told her that it was not right for her to push her brother on the forehead because we don’t hurt the people we love and that its dangerous for Ethan’s head to hit the floor. I asked her if she can say “sorry” and she said “no”. I tried to acknowledge her emotions and told her that what she’s feeling right now is called “pride” and “shame” that pride is to have a hard heart because you believe that you are right and that you do not want to be wrong. And shame is feeling embarrassed for doing something you weren’t suppose to do.
I had a difficult time explaining this spot on. Not just because I was at a loss for words but I saw myself when I looked at her. Her head was bowed down. feeling ashamed, angry and hurt. I saw myself and It was exactly what was inside my heart.
I have been filled with pride. I thought I have forgiven people who have hurt me. I would often say that if we ended up in court, I would definitely win with all the supporting proof I had. That I couldn’t believe that when I put a person first, gave more than I could and placed myself second, I ended up disrespected with ungratefulness.
I had the same answer as my daughter’s. In my heart my answer was “No” “No i couldn’t say sorry because I know in proof that I was right” (all of these thoughts happening in just 30 seconds while I was conversing with my daughter.) It amazing how parenting allows me to understand how God see’s things and how hard my heart was as His daughter.
I remembered the verse earlier in the morning and I laughed a bit in my heart saying how God made sure I read it before this incident happened.
1 Peter 2:18-25
18 You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. 19 For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment. 20 Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.
21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.
22 He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone.
23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.
24 He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.
25 Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.
So then, I asked Caitlin if it would help if I would hold her hand and be with her when we go to her brother for her to apologize and embrace him. She said “Yes”. I told her (as if i was telling my little heart) “its not important if Ethan was wrong. what’s important is your relationship with Him. That you grow to love each other more every single day) So we went back and I saw how difficult it was for the words to come out of her mouth. I told her that she can get her confidence in Jesus to say sorry. Finally she said “Sorry Ethan” and I felt relief. I told her to continue why she was sorry “Sorry for… pushing you and hurting you” and she said it in a small ant voice. She embraced her brother and kissed his forehead. And I saw the relief in her face and after that, they went back to playing and I think she learned to love him more.
I couldn’t help but get teary eyed because she was able to do something I know I can never do. Have you ever been hurt and you don’t know why you got hurt when your pure intention was to help the person out? And you ended up to be the bad buy? and you can’t understand what just happened? I badly wanted to take revenge but the verse earlier reminded me…”He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered.”
Well I’m still a work in progress and I know that not until I face this challenge will I ever graduate. That this will happen over and over again not until I face it because God is more concerned with our character rather than who is right.
So, yes Lord. Hold my hand as I do what my daughter just did.
Leslie Leyland Fields said, ” I know now that parenting is not meant to paralyse me with guilt but to sen me running freely to God. Parenting is not meant to cripple me with insufficiency but to leaf me to God’s sufficiency. Parenting is so much less about me and so much more about God!