My daughter started kindergarten this month. Kindergarten. It’s been a big big deal for everyone involved–my daughter is away from home for the first time ever, my son has lost his best playmate for most of the day, my husband has a new responsibility of driving her to school and I am now the mom of an elementary school student!
As shallow as it sounds, I want to be a really good school mom. I want my daughter’s teachers to see how well-behaved and polite she is. I want my daughter’s peers to desire her friendship. I want to be the helpful room mom that brings cupcakes and plans parties.
And for a little while, I thought this was okay. That it was a good thing to “look good” in front of others.
But a post Mandi wrote about snap judgements has been whispering in my ear lately. It’s sad but true that your parenting is judged by your children’s behavior. Of course, a lot of the time it is my fault when my kids are out of control — I let them stay up too late, with too much sugar and not enough parental involvement.
But sometimes we forget that children are well, children.
There’s a strange verse in the Bible that says, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child…” another version translates it as, “A youngster’s heart is filled with foolishness…” When you first read that verse it sounds very disrespectful of kids and a free pass to use “do as I say and not as I do” or “children should be seen and not heard” at random.
I think the intent is actually very different.
I think it’s a free pass to get rid of mommy guilt.
When my kids stand in the middle of Chuck E. Cheese and wail because it’s time to go or they yell, “UH. Not fair!” fourteen times in ten minutes while their pastor is in earshot, it’s easy to feel like everyone is judging you and your parenting. It hurts when you feel like a failure. That all your time training, loving and gently correcting has turned your child into a Tasmanian devil.
Instead of accepting the evil glares, the haughty looks and disgusted sniffs from passers-by remember the scripture about foolishness being bound up in your child’s heart. Kids are kids. They are going to be foolish. God put families together so kids could be foolish. So parents would see that foolishness and work hard to train and love and correct. Parenting is all about coming alongside a foolish child to help them grow into adulthood as a wise and self-controlled person–and not remaining a fool.
When we went to our new parent orientation at my daughter’s school, the principal gave us an encouraging heart to heart that began with, “Don’t be embarrassed.” She let us know that even her kids had been in trouble at school. She reminded us that kids will make mistakes and do dumb things. She said, “I am often disappointed with my children. But never surprised.” It sounds negative but after she said it, I turned my Parent Handbook over and wrote it down to share it with you.
It took such a weight off my shoulders. It’s okay if my daughter isn’t number one in class, if she talks back to the teacher or does something foolish. She’s a kid. It’s going to happen.
It needs to happen.
She needs to learn how to stand on her own two feet. She needs to learn how to be self-controlled and stay away from foolishness.
My job is to lead her there. To pick her up when folly makes her fall hard. To comfort her, lovingly correct her and show her the way to go. So be encouraged today, this school year and as your kids grow–they will be foolish. It’s not always a reflection of your parenting. It should be a sign, a warning and motivator to turn to your children and help them grow through it.
Has your children’s behavior motivated you as a parent?
Originally published at LifeYourWay.net