We were at a play structure the other day, and during the free play time my 2 year old son had climbed to the VERY top of the structure. While he was up there he was looking out the opening of the structure to the fireman pole trying to decide if he was going to attempt to master the fireman pole. As one could imagine the mommy voice inside of me was say, “WHAT ARE YOU THINKING! OF COURSE YOU CAN NOT DO THAT! YOU ARE TWO! BACK AWAY FROM THE DEATH TRAP!!!!” But, surprisingly a moment of clarity came upon me and instead saying those thoughts in my head, I calmly walked over to the opening, looked up and said in a surprisedly restrained voice, “Do you think this would be safe for you to try?” At that moment I could see my son ponder for a quick second then replied, “No.” and climbed down to the next level and went down the slide.
I learned a lot that day.
First: I learned I wasn’t mentally prepared for him to say, “yes” to this dangerous situation. And I need to be! I need to be prepared to guide him to evaluate what he can do. During those time I “feel” he is not ready, I need to find ways to HELP guide him. Finding ways to show him that he CAN do things, he CAN have dreams and accomplish them, he CAN face those mountains without fear and he CAN ask for help to do them.
Second: I learned that I am a mama bear, I will fearlessly defend my cubs! I will defend them against threats both ones that come at us and ones that we face. My mama bear mentality is a great quality BUT needs to be harnessed into order to train up my children in the way they should live. Using the situation above, if I reacted with my inner mama bear voice I would be unintentionally instilling fear instead of reasoning. (SOME fear is appropriate, but in many situations could be handled differently. One healthy fear that comes to mind is not allowing children to walk in the street without an adult.) My husband always says we need to teach them the WHY. Rules without purpose can seem to leave more to be discovered.
Third: I learned that the inner voice of my children will be affected by MY outer voice. There is a quote that says, “Behind every child who believes in himself is a parent who believed first.” We have such an influence in the way our children think about themselves. SCARY, but INSPIRATIONAL!
I am always learning so much about what it means to be a parent. And while I am learning about myself, I can see so much of the Father God’s, love for us. God gives us guidelines to allow us to be successful but is always showing LOVE, GRACE, TRUTH, and PATIENCE with us. HE says trust me, pick up your cross (the thing you hold on to so tightly, your security, your pride, your dreams, the thing you are not trusting God with) and follow me. He does not tell you where he is going, but he promises joy, love, grace, truth, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and so much more. He takes what you have given and gives you something BETTER. This simple picture convicts me! “WHY AM I STANDING IN MY OWN WAY?”
Forgive me God, and thank you for the reminder to pick up my cross daily and follow you.