Thursday, March 30, 2017

Thoughts on Older Children Part 2: What Did We Expect?

Honestly, what did we expect?

There are lots of expectations we have for our dear children - how they will turn out, what they will do, and how they will act as adults.

This is one thing that I wish I had thought of when my kids were younger. Since I had put my everything into these little beings, all hours of the days and nights, raising, thinking and planning for these children, the obvious expected outcome is that they are going to turn out pretty darn good.

I became aware that this thinking is incorrect, in a very humbling way.

For years, I expected my kids to mature to the point where they would not fight with each other. I thought this way because when kids are little, their fights are really dumb. They were most likely fighting over a toy, someone getting more cookie than the other, a sassy statement, or a rolling of the eyes. There were times when I would just throw up my hands and say, "Just don't fight and argue! Stop it!"

I really expected them at some point, to pretty much stop fighting and disagreeing with each other.

{During a time when they were getting along nicely}



One day I realized that this was the wrong perspective. It happened on a day when of course, two children had another dumb fight. Then that night, my Sweetie and I had a disagreement. About something really dumb, like the tone one of us had used when talking. I realized, when reflecting that evening, that there was not one bit of difference in both of the fights that happened that day.

I realized that instead of teaching my children not to disagree, I need to teach them how to disagree correctly. Someday they might move in with roommates, get married, have children, and have relationship with lots of people. And they will have disagreements. Because they are sinners.

We all need the skills to calmly discuss issues as they arise. To overlook small things that might annoy us about others, things that really don't need to be mentioned. To take a break when a fight is getting heated and beginning to get nasty. (This is something that we have all been working on in our family. To recognize when things are going to get out of control and to ask for a break. And then to take that time and think and pray about reconciliation. I cannot tell you how this has helped the arguments in our home!)

To approach the other party with humility, in Christ. And when I say "in Christ", I am meaning with the mindset that all of us are equal as sinners, and all deserve God's curse and wrath. But then remembering that Christ not only took my place but also gave me his eternal reward.

Instead of trying to teach my children not to fight, I want to and I need to remember, to give them these tools.


{Another happy photo}



We need to not expect our children to never lie, to never lose their temper, and to always keep their rooms clean. I look at myself and I struggle with all of those things, and I am 42 years old! Parenting is full of discipline and wise council, but it is also very full of grace. God's grace, which we all are in such need of.

"Admit it, we're all still a bit of a mess; that's why we need God's 
grace today as much as we needed it the first day we believed."
{Paul David Tripp - New Morning Mercies}


And then this scary thought hit me: my older kids might not turn out like I wanted at all. They might (heaven forbid) make wrong choices. They might actually make some very bad choices. I need to, in some ways, expect this. After all, when we examine, deep down, the way we thought when we were that age and then honestly think about how we act now at times, we still make poor decisions. And learn (sometimes) from them.

God is working on us and sanctifying us. He is working on our children and thanks be to God, sanctifying them too. We need to remember this and have faith, that his plan is perfect. We also need to remember to pray for our older children. They need that very much, too.

Each day our goal should be to live in peace, hope, and courage, not looking at all of the things that are going on inside or around us. We have faith because we are forgiven, and because we are blessed because Christ lives in us.

And we do have peace, because ultimately we know, in faith, that he is working through ALL THE THINGS that are going on with our older children.



Thoughts on Older Children Part 4: Who Drew the Map?
Thoughts on Older Children Part 3: Let Them Fly
Thoughts on Older Children Part 1: Communication is Huge


2 comments:

  1. Haaahaa! Amen💕😆Perfect God's timing! Great encouragement! Just got back from my much needed walk time😉I love this message of Jesus' Love, Grace, and Truth demonstrated in our imperfect reality👍

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  2. Yes grace is such a huge part in our imperfect parenting!

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