It’s also the time of year that parenting is on display. There are parents at the water park, at the zoo, on the hiking trails, and in every house surrounding mine. More often than I’d like, I hear things said to children that make my heart wince. Things that should never be said to children, or ordinary things said in ways that they should never be said.
Gospel centered parenting doesn’t demean–it edifies.….
It’s the time of year that I’m especially aware of the things that spring forth from my own mouth. After all, my neighbors can all hear me. I’m parenting with the windows open.
Parenting Out Loud
The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction. Proverbs 16:21
It’s funny, isn’t it, that I’m especially aware of my own conduct when I know it’s audible to those around me? After all, Jesus sees me each and every day. He hears every word that issues forth from my mouth. My children are truly His children. Their little hearts are mine to shepherd only… I am only a steward.
In these summer months, I’m always especially aware of whether or not my conduct changes based on who can hear me.
Let’s just level with each other: parenting has a way of raising every emotion humanly possible. Parenting is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Parenting can cause long-hidden anger to surface like a vengeful hippo. Now, those are some mean creatures! However, parenting in anger isn’t just something we should avoid. Parenting in anger is detrimental; we should run from it like we would run from a rat carrying the plague.
Parenting Like the Gospel Matters
I want to raise the bar on my parenting. This summer, I’m asking myself for more.
Am I parenting as if the Gospel is really real? Am I parenting as if I really believe that Jesus Christ lived, died, and rose again for my little people? Do I remember that I have done nothing on my own to earn the grace that He has extended me? Am I remembering that He loves me even in my foolishness and sin? That He loves my children … no matter what?
In my summer parenting, am I displaying the fruit of the Spirit? (You know, those pesky character traits listed in Galatians 5:22-23 like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…) Are the words of my mouth gracious?
This is the time of year that I contemplate my heart. When I speak, no matter what I’m saying, I want my kids to hear: I love you. Jesus loves you. Your life is valuable. God has designed you for a purpose. If that’s not what they’re hearing, then absolutely nothing else I say matters. Nothing.
Parenting Resources to Check Out
Missional Motherhood: The Everyday Ministry of Motherhood in the Grand Plan of GodTreasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy MomsWomen of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our MindsParenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your FamilyShepherding a Child’s HeartPitchin’ A Fit!: Overcoming Angry and Stressed-Out ParentingGive Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of JesusRaising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating BoysPraying for Girls: Asking God for the Things They Need MostPraying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need MostKnights in Training: Ten Principles for Raising Honorable, Courageous, and Compassionate BoysMore Than Just the Talk: Becoming Your Kids’ Go-To Person About Sex
Parenting in the Strength of the Lord
It can be a challenge to discipline, instruct, and herd (what, you never have to herd kids?) and communicate love, grace, and discerning counsel all at the same time. In fact, on my own, I am incapable of any of that. Thankfully, I’m not doing this super-hard-oh-so-challenging gig on my own. Nope. I’m doing it in the strength of the Lord.
All that fruit I’m supposed to be bearing? Jesus said I can only bear fruit if I remain in Him: “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (John 15:4).
If my fruit isn’t standing the test of parenting with the windows open, it’s time to get back to the Word, back to praying. It’s time to focus my eyes on HIM.
More Posts You’ll Love at Thinking Kids
Five Things That Occur When I Encourage My ChildPrayer Card Set for MomsThe Challenge Moms of Boys FaceFree Bookmarks to Color for MomsFive Things That Occur When I Overreact to My Child’s OffensePraying in the Shower: 15 Ways to Make a Habit of Prayer5 Questions to Ask When Making Parenting DecisionsThe Three Most Powerful Words in the UniverseFive Things Being a Mom Has Taught MeFive Things That Occur When I Yell At My ChildrenWhat to Do When Your Child Breaks Your HeartLoading the Dishwasher while Standing on Broken Glass (or Children’s Chores)Ten Facts About Babies in the Womb
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~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.