3 Ways to Not Take Yourself Too Seriously As a Parent
Sometimes we experience what we consider to be a great moment in parenting.
Have you had one recently?
You might have felt it after designing the ultimate family getaway on a shoestring budget.
Perhaps you redeemed a gloomy, rainy night by bringing home a pizza and all the ingredients for banana splits.
Maybe you organized a neighborhood water balloon fight that ended with letting the kids bomb you (and other parents) from every direction.
In these moments, our kids turn toward us with a look that says, “Seriously, that rocked.”
You may feel God’s hands all over the situation, working through you.
Of course, sometimes we experience what we consider to be a not-so-great moment in parenting.
We’ll get snippy with our kids, or attempt to say something productive yet end up speaking criticism. We’ll ache, knowing that we knew better but let negativity happen anyway.
In these moments, our kids turn away from us with a look that says, “Seriously, that hurt.”
You may doubt God’s hands are all over the situation, yet he is working through you beyond yourself.
Our imperfections don’t define us anymore than our successes do.
What does define us is God in us, which is perhaps best seen when we show up each day in humility before our kids and give them our best.
It’s you playing games even when you’re tired, assembling puzzles even when they’re missing pieces, or sharing words of wisdom even when you feel tongue-tied.
It’s you letting your mess become God’s best.
- Burst forth: Each of us can only give so many “best bursts” of energy in one day – perhaps 3 to 5 bursts, based on the person. Our family generally needs one of those bursts every day, but there are times that we need to give an additional specific burst to one kid more than another, along with our marriage (date night, anyone?). We try to give the amount that’s right, and not just what’s left.
- Tell the whole truth: Confessing is truth-telling, from what we’ve done wrong to what we’ve done right. We’re tempted to omit details doing both, but our kids will feel the humble difference when we give them the whole truth. It’s one thing to say, “Remember that I was the one who taught you how to do that” versus, “I’m so thankful I got to teach you that. Let me tell you about who taught me when I didn’t know how to do it.” If they can see your life as a work-in-progress, they’ll understand their life to be a work-in-progress.
- Make a fool of yourself: Let’s always remember that parents who laugh too loud cause their kids to laugh; parents who hug their kids in public teach those kids to one day hug their future family in public; parents who sing off key give their kids permission to sing at all. Dance with no rhythm. Dunk a basketball on a small hoop and do a slow-motion victory lap. Keep them wondering what you’re going to do next, and you’ll humbly keep wonder alive.
by Tony Myles