Are You Making a Difference?
Mothering my two kids, Mike and Brittainy, has been the single most rewarding experience of my life. But there were moments, while my kids were growing up, when I wondered if I was making any difference.
Were they listening to my words about sharing as Mike snatched the cereal box away from Brittainy who responded with a quick punch to his head and ran for cover? Those were the moments—standing in the middle of the kitchen amidst a sea of dirty dishes and crumbs—when I dreamed of moving to Australia. Why Australia? Because it was the farthest place away I could think of. If you've ever dreamed of running away, know you’re in good company.
I often wondered: Was I raising kids with character or two little brats? Many, many times I shook my head in frustration. How many times would I have to say, “Be kind to each other instead of hurling insults while you’re at the breakfast table.”
I remember a conversation with a dear friend, a mom of three boys, including a set of rambunctious twins. She talked about how, once, when her boys were supposed to be quietly resting in their rooms, she discovered they had removed a bedroom door from its hinges. She felt the anger rising up in her throat and for a moment couldn't decide whether to yell or cry or do both. These words ran through her head: These are my kids. No one else can mother them like I can.
My wise friend knew two things that have helped me throughout my years of being a mom.
You’re not just parenting for today. It’s often hard (and scary) to look past the preschooler to the young adult your child will become. The things you do today are not just making the snapshot of who your child is now, they’re building the portrait of who they will be in the future. It’s easy as a mom to get caught up in socks, shoes, toys and snacks and forget that the moments of daily routine are golden opportunities to instill character, responsibility, thankfulness and a cheerful heart. What kind of adult will your child be? You get to have a big say in that, Mom.
The little things you do matter. I remember sitting on the edge of my son’s bed one night before he went to sleep, noticing a crumpled napkin with my handwriting on it near his pillow. I had gotten in the habit of writing little notes such as “I love you” or “I’m praying for you” and tucking them in the lunch that he took to preschool. At age 4, he wasn't really reading yet, but was in love with the idea. He had never mentioned the notes, so I thought he hadn't noticed or was embarrassed that I had written them. When I pointed to the napkin, he said, “I’m keeping that one. It’s my favorite.”
Mom, your children are paying attention even when all evidence points to the contrary. You are making a difference during those times you reach deep to call on that last shred of patience to make a wise decision. I can see that difference in my adult children. Our son is a youth pastor and a father. He has grown into a man who brings tears of joy to my eyes. Our daughter is a creative and talented musician who makes my heart burst with pride when I watch her lead worship.
The Bible encourages us, “So, let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time, we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9, NLT).
Written by Sherry Surratt