It is for freedom that we were set free, and Jesus came to set us free from punishment. He loved with a sacrificial love, and was ever present in times of need.
I have been invited to share a little bit about my parenting. I think it would help to first say that
I wasn’t always a gentle parent. It would also help to note that I can not talk about my parenting journey without talking about God.
I was often harsh and unkind with my children, to put it mildly. I was expecting my 4th and started to panic half way through the pregnancy as I discovered I had heart disease. I wasn’t sure how I would survive after this little boy was born into our family if things continued the way there were at the time. I was told to eliminate as much stress as possible. So, I began pouring myself into reading.
I read my bible and sought God’s answer to my plea of how to have peace in our home. And then I stumbled
across many wonderful websites and blogs and facebook pages on how to be a better parent. Peaceful parenting. Gentle parenting. The words sounded silly to me, and a bit insulting. I didn’t like that I was apparently not these things.
I struggled inside for a long several months until I finally found peace in my mind. God kept confirming for me that everything I was learning was aligning with scriptures, and that brought such comfort for me.
Previously I had been parenting out of fear, brokenness, lack of knowledge, expectations, and basically
flying by the seat of my pants. I was taught that children are to obey their parents. I mean, it’s biblical.It’s also something the world expects as well. It raises well-behaved and respectful members of society, right?
But as a Christian, I am not supposed to act like the rest of the world. The way I was parenting was exactly like everyone else. And that confused me. What was I doing wrong?
I have come to understand there is no room for fear in my role as a parent. Of course it’s there, but there is nothing good that can come from me being unhealthily fearful of how they will turn out in the future, and having fear of other people’s opinions of me didn’t help at all.
I was so tired of feeling guilt, shame, and endlessly needing to repent of my awful parenting,
so I sought a new way.
I came across a wonderful, scripture filled book. It was precisely what I was looking for. It had all the
Hebrew and Greek meanings to the common words of parenting and likely every parenting verse there is.
In her book ‘Jesus, the Gentle Parent’, L.R. Knost described some characteristics of Jesus.
“Gentle. Tender. Responsive. Available. Listening. Encouraging. Teaching. Guiding.”
So looking back today at where I once was, I can see such a change in perspective. It’s so refreshing to see where He has led me when I sought hard after Him. I made a list tonight, really quick, to get an idea of the common things people believe my kids will tun out like (and many others who parent like me). There’s also included in the list ways I used to parent, and then there’s the other side of the ‘fence’, which is where I am now, and it includes some of the goals and values I strive to reach.
There’s a CLEAR line drawn in the sand between the two. I am sure they can be seen as Positive and Negative perspectives of children and Peaceful Parenting. But among all of this, a few things seems to jump out at me.
Control. Fear. Bondage.
Have a look at this list for yourself and I am sure there will be a lot of disagreement. But I also am willing to bet that disagreement will come from those who were either permissive parents, who let their kids do whatever they wanted however they wanted without regard for anyone else. Or, it will come from people who are still in bondage, whether you know it or not. I was in bondage for 8 years to fear of not being in control of my kids and their behaviours and what they said and did. Then I realized it is not my job to control them. It is not my job to make them obey. I don’t want compliant kids. I want my kids to go into life questioning it and experiencing it and living it and not to be discouraged and torn down for errors and immature judgements.
So, here is my small list.
I believe strongly that we should do unto others as we would want them to do unto us. Now, that does not say treat others the way we expect to be treated if we did the same thing as them.
I also struggle to hold my tongue when people often comment that we need to toughen up and prepare our kids for the world so they can survive. What a harsh world that sounds like. I want to raise my kids up to bring gentleness into a harsh world and make it better. I also find it frustrating when I *know* who I was and who my kids were, and people still proceed to tell me after I have shared some of that with them, that I am messing them up and raising brats. Telling me not to judge. Well, I am judging who I used to be. If that looks like who you are, than that is your own conviction.
I was raised in violence. I was raised in fear and secrets and so much abuse and sickness and devastation. It molded me. Part of that is still with me in the sense I am rough around the edges. I feel like a phony when I speak in gentle tones and with soft words. It is foreign to me. But it grows on me as well.
It is by God’s grace that He has led me to where I am today. He gives endless chances until the day you die, so I want to give the same to my children. I believe in RADICAL GRACE. I do not believe there is any other kind actually. I have no insecurities in my parenting journey when I am conscious and striving to meet my goals. It is when I fall back into old habits that I feel God ushering me to be calm and quiet and to be quick to listen and slow to speak. So much of who I have become is wrapped up in the love I feel from God for me. His love is perfect. Mine is short. But focusing on Him, life becomes what it’s
meant to be.
Thanks to Susan Martin for sharing with us her parenting tips
For more Parenting tips, read these:
Cook, Baker, Phototaker, Fitness Mover and Shaker, Cupcake Tester, Deal Maker, Adventurous Undertaker, Do Good “Deeder”, Teacher, Mom, Wife, Patriot for Life & Giver of Good Advice – RealAdviceGal