Sure, there’s lots of “confessing” out there. Plenty of people telling you that it’s okay to not to get it right every time. Myself included!
But. let’s be honest, in our hearts of hearts, we really do want to get it right with our kids.
I know I continually feel the pressure and responsibility of being my kids’ 24/7 role model. And as long as that pressure stays at a healthy level, it’s a good thing. For them and for me. It motivates me to stay close to God. To fight off those impulses to be selfish or sarcastic. I’m a better person because of my kids.
But, as we all know, we’re going to make parenting mistakes. We’re going to mess up in life in general — in our marriages, in our work life.
And our kids are watching nearly every single one. Sigh.
But they’re watching something else, too. They’ve also got a keen eye on how we handle our mistakes.
Don’t you learn a lot more by your mistakes than your successes? Well, I’m convinced our kids do, too. We can model character and godliness to them in incredibly powerful ways by how we respond to our inevitable face plants!
Here’s a few valuable messages we can send our kids:
Grace is readily available.
As a recovering perfectionist, I can be so hard on myself when I lose my temper. Or when I give in when I should have stood firm. When I’ve forgotten to bring something important to my son’s 8th grade graduation (just happened, by the way.) Over the years, I’ve become much better at accepting the grace that God so readily offers. Because I want my kids to be able to do that, too.
Mistakes aren’t fatal.
Mistakes are part of the journey. God isn’t surprised by a single one. If we can look at them in this way and ask God to still somehow use it for our good. I tend to set impossibly high standards for myself. Yet, I know that God has used some of my biggest mistakes to ultimately lead to my most powerful victories. When we don’t allow ourselves to be defined by our failures, but continue to persevere, it tells our kids, “Mistakes aren’t fatal. We can recover. Look for the good God wants to bring out of it. Keep trying.”
Forgiveness is the key to freedom.
I have made plenty of parenting mistakes. In fact, there are certain screw-ups I can’t even think about too long, or else I start feeling defeated. When I know I’ve been forgiven. My kids would readily admit they don’t have a perfect mom. But they’d also be quick to say that I ask for their forgiveness when I’ve wronged them in some way. And I try to make things right, if at all possible. This brings freedom and restores our relationship, as well as my relationship with God.
Our need for God.
Every time I mess up, it reminds me of how human I am. How much I am in need of a Savior who can show me how to move forward. Who gives me strength. I verbalize my need for a His help all the time. Praise Him when He shows up — in little and big ways. I want my kids to know that no matter how many times they fall, they have a God who is always able and willing to help them get up again.
We are always going to make mistakes.
But we can still get it right if we show our kids how they can learn from them.
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