This inability to listen and then obey, seems to reflect on our competency as parents. Granted, most of us have only held the position of parent for a few years – as I’ve said before, I am only four in Mom Years. And my oldest is only four years old. It’s just hard not to have higher expectations for behavior when we’ve had this conversation One Thousand Times.
Last night, my girlfriends and I sipped chamomile tea and consoled ourselves about our children who seem to be selfish and entitled and wrong in every way – although we love them dearly, bless their hearts. But really, they do seem to think we only exist to make them happy.
And yet, we are trying so so hard to be good mothers. We are doing everything we can, and yet, they still misbehave. We reassured ourselves that, probably, we were little hellions when we were two and four years old, and look how decent we turned out to be?
The moral we landed on was we couldn’t use our children’s behavior to judge whether or not we were good parents. We would find out when they got older how it all plays out, but until then, Soldier on, good women.
When I got home, I remembered Jesus. Poor Jesus. He had those 12 teenagers to work with, and they were a mess. They were always bickering about who was the greatest, right in front of God, mind you. And even after Jesus multiplied food for a crowd, a few weeks later they were freaking out about how they would feed another crowd.
You could hear the exasperation in his voice some of the time. I used to think Jesus sounded a little mean and impatient in those moments. Until I became a parent.
I guess this is the circle of life, folks, for the children to be doubting and forgetful, and for the parents and teachers who guide them to wring their hands and wonder if everything is actually sinking in. If the children will actually become adults ready for launch.
I take so much comfort in this, knowing Jesus, who was God the whole time and who knew how the story ended, who knew that these were the men and women who would “turn the world upside down”, sometimes got a little frustrated with the children he was readying for the world.
So on the days your children make you want to submit your resignation letter for parenting, remember we all get the same human nature to work with. Even Jesus. The parenting gig is hard, and sometimes we wonder if it’s worth it or if the little ones will grow up, in every sense of that phrase.
But let’s remember not to look at the behavior of our kids as the evidence of our effectiveness as parents, or our worth as humans. Instead, remember Jesus had the same troubles too, and his kids turned out alright.