I decided to shift my parenting.
I want to reward my children for heart discipline rather than performance.
I’ve spent my entire life running from performance-based expectations and it creeps into my parenting despite my best efforts. Palms sweaty, heart pounding, splotchy chest being the norm of my exhausting life of what did I forget now and why didn’t I do better?
I want to model for them Christian maturity and growth. I want to practice Ephesians 4 and live it out in front of my children.
so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Ephesians 4:14
I want my babies to have a firm foundation, to not be like leaves on the wind.
Of course, I want my children to obey and complete their chores and school work, I desire they exhibit the fruit of the Spirit more.
What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Matthew 8:36
So I want to focus on heart training more and see if the rest follows.
So what if Liz didn’t do the dishes to my standards? But she shared so sweetly that last brownie with her brother. I know she’s a leader in the making.
So what if Tori left her shoes on the steps? Again. But she dusted the entire house cheerfully without being asked. And she’s got the most generous spirit.
So what if Kate’s desk is a mess, as usual? But she was polite and courteous to her sisters. And she always makes me laugh, that one does.
So what if Alex didn’t complete his school pages? (He’s only in preschool.) But he cuddled up to me when he knew I was feeling bad. He has the most gentle heart.
When left to their own devices, my children delight and amaze me with their love, generosity, and kindness.
I want to help my kids succeed and the majority of that is that I want them to be leaders who think outside the box and always do their best, not mindless robots who regurgitate information and simply work to meet deadlines. I want them to strive for excellence, not perfection, and certainly never “just good enough.”
These are my babies and I can rush them through childhood, impatient with tears, frustrated with messes, exasperated with their pointless chatter, missing the point.
Or I can stop and really look at them, listen to their banter, take more time over hugs, share their prayers and dreams. Enjoy a pot of tea and stare into their deep blue pools of wonder while discussing poetry and music.
So, I say YES to when they want to play baseball out in the snow with snowballs and shovels.
I say YES when they want to go cheer up our elderly neighbor.
I say YES when they ask for ice cream.
I say YES when they ask to watch a DVD with me, all nestled together so nary a crumb can fall between us.
Even if things are left undone.
Because it’s not just about being a hands-free mama or an artistic mama or an intentional mama.
I need to be a Kingdom-minded mama. I long to be a yes mama.
It’s their hearts that matter.
The books and papers and tests will still be there.
The chores won’t go away. They will never go away. I will never catch up.
What do I want their childhood memories to be?
I am guiding my children’s memories and I want to actively create good recollections. I don’t want to rush through life willy nilly and leave their memories and experiences to chance.
Do I want them to look back and get all sweaty and anxious and hearts racing at the memory of how stressed out their mama always was about deadlines and messes?
I want them to remember the fun times when we played board games in front of the roaring fireplace with snow pouring down outside or jumped in mud puddles or made bubbles and used pipe cleaners to blow them on the deck in our pajamas on a cold morning. I want them to remember science experiments gone wrong but we learned and making lotion and soaps that were all our own, poured out love and essential oils. I want them to remember the lazy mornings, sitting on the deck with me in the rocking chair and waiting for the hummingbirds to zoom close, chittering their calls of nectar possession.
I want them to remember love.