Watching a video of our younger years with our little ones, I hear myself say, “Stop being so silly. Act normal.” Instantly, I feel remorse, because she was only three or so, and looked so sweet and fun...but, I have to remind myself that then, I was in the now. You have been there: trying to take pictures, and all you get is goofy.
Really, this is not about trying to take pictures, but about looking back at the past and rethinking actions. Being older is supposed to make us wiser. Why? Perhaps because we have had time to ponder our actions, and have already seen consequences...
And so, I bring to you, 8 lessons from an imperfect parent, and hope that either you can use these tidbits to help you not make the same mistakes, or see that you aren’t the only parent that makes errors while raising children - little lives that come to you, leaving once intelligent and confident adults, feeling lost and confused and unprepared, almost daily…
1. Be silly with them. (Unless it will cause harm, or put anyone in danger.)
2. Listen. Force yourself to stop, give up some time - a child may take longer to process and be able to explain himself.
3. Step back. You are in the now. But think of the later. Will you regret your actions? Again, take time. Walk away. Give both sides space to think things through. PRAY!
4. Find an older parent that you respect, and go to them. Do NOT be too proud to admit you need support. Everyone needs support.
5. Do NOT be jealous of someone willing to spend time to pour love into your child - He/ She is never going to take your place.
6. Respect your parents. Your child is watching and learning from you.
I think of the lessons I have learned, and try to apply them to myself as a grandparent...and I believe that is why so many of us love being grandparents! I can be silly with these little ones, having simple fun... I can take time to listen. I have stepped back, thought things through...
Boy, do I pray! And I am so very thankful that God is merciful, and knows me intimately, and has forgiven me for past mistakes, and does not make me live in shame for them. And I pray for healing in our families...
I have also had to apologize, as an adult, to my parents, remembering that, when I was struggling through issues with teens, I would not let my parents help, thinking they cannot be better at this parenting thing than me, and forgetting that they have wisdom and experience.
So, yeah, I am willing to share my lessons from an imperfect parent... But, at the same time, I want to add two more lessons I am still learning:
7. You can ask for forgiveness, if needed. You can forgive yourself. Do not live in regret. Better, not bitter, my friend.
“You can carry the past on your shoulders
Or you can start over
Regrets, no matter what you've gone through
Jesus, He gave it all to save you
He carried the cross on His shoulders
So you can start over”
from Start Over, by Flame
Please remember, we will all make mistakes, but we can forgive, because we love one another, and we can learn from our mistakes, and become more forgiving, as well as less judging of others, and hopefully wiser. Our relationships are precious at any age.
8. It is necessary to admit a hurt to start the healing process. It is necessary to expose, clean, take time to treat, and to keep an eye on the healing of said wound - not to live with shame, but to properly heal and keep from repeating the injury.
God, who is rich in mercy... 💝 I am so thankful that He is! I choose to follow the One with scars, who has had VICTORY!
These may be 8 lessons from an imperfect parent, but this parent is learning from the Perfect Father. 💝
“I don’t mean that I am exactly what God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal. But I continue trying to reach it and make it mine. That’s what Christ Jesus wants me to do. It is the reason He made me His. Brothers and sisters, I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me.”
Philippians 3:12-13 Easy to Read Version