Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Parental Integrity


I just finished reading Serena Miller's More Than Happy: The Wisdom of Amish Parenting. It was a fascinating read, and more of an in-depth study of Amish culture than a parenting book per-se. The words of one of the Amish fathers quoted have stuck with me.

He said that the best way to parent is to be a person of integrity yourself. Children don't just need verbal instruction. They need to see kindness, patience, hard work, generosity, and all of the other good traits we'd like them to develop, modeled. By their parents.

So often I find myself focused on my children's behavior. I'm frustrated by all of the discipline situations, whining, unwillingness to clean-up, squabbling between siblings, bad attitudes. Why don't they just get it?!?

Concentrating on my own character is more difficult. It's sobering to realize that my daughter whines because she hears mommy do it, that the unkind voice she is hurling at her brother is an exact imitation of mine. Maybe my kids drag their feet to their work because they watch me do the same to mine.

I know that on their own they are sinners, perfectly capable of creating their own foibles... but still, what they are seeing modeled in me can have a huge effect on their daily attitudes and behaviors.

It reminds me of Give Them Grace- after reading that book, I was most strongly impressed with my own need to meditate on and live by my understanding of the Gospel if I desire to pass that on to my kids. Ultimately my children's salvation is dependent upon God alone. I'm not the Holy Spirit. And yet the way I live, the way I walk, the way I talk- it is either adorning the Gospel as beautiful in their eyes, or making it unattractive and obscured.

These recent revelations are quieting my mother heart down, hushing the anxiety to hone my parenting techniques, giving me renewed desire to grow in grace and godliness. To model the behaviors that I long to see in their little lives.

It's actually freeing. To relieve the pressure of a thousand parenting books all with different advice, directives, and rebukes- and instead to concentrate on doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God {Micah 6:8}.

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