Recently I received a phone call from my son in college. He needed a website for a class and asked me if I would be willing to help him get one set up. Sure, no problem!
I purchased his domain name for him, set up the blog, got the design done, and then the two of us went through the little details together to make it reflect his personality. I showed him how to use his dashboard in order to make his blog posts and pages, and then left it in his hands.
He made his first blog post today: You Should Do Better
Of course, I am incredibly proud of the young man he has become and I look forward to seeing what God is going to continue to do in his life. It was this comment by my mother on Facebook that really got me thinking, though:
I would like my friends to read my Grandson’s blog post for today. He makes me proud, not just of him, but of the parents who raised him.
Hmmmm. I don’t know about you, but when I was raising my children, and even now that they are adults, I always seemed to look back and focus on what thought I did wrong, instead of what I know I did right. I always second-guessed myself.
- Did I do this the way I should have?
- Was I too harsh in this circumstance?
- Was I not harsh enough in that circumstance?
- Why did I do this particular thing this way instead of doing it that way?!
- Did I spoil them too much?
- Did I not love them enough?
- Did I totally screw my kids up because of my own (perceived?) lack of parenting skills?
- Will my kids need therapy as adults?
This list could go on, but I’m sure you get my drift.
When I saw my mother post that she was proud of me (and my husband) for the way that we had raised our son, it made me stop and wonder why we place so much time and energy into worrying about what we’ve possibly done wrong in raising our children, when we should instead be looking at all the things we have done right.
- We have loved them.
- We have laughed with them.
- We have held them while they cried.
- We have provided for them, even at the expense of ourselves.
- We have been their safety net.
- We have prayed with and for them.
- We have been their #1 cheerleader in all things.
- We have done our best to support all of their dreams.
- We have taught them that Jesus is Lord, and that it is only through Him that we have life everlasting.
Why is it that when our children hit rough patches, our first gut instinct is to blame ourselves and wonder where *we* went wrong? On the other hand, when they are doing well we never stop to think, “Wow! To think I raised that child!”
We don’t give ourselves enough credit as parents.
Oh, we credit all their bad behavior to ourselves … I mean, it has to be our fault, right? After all, we are the ones raising them! So if we can give all the credit (i.e. blame) to ourselves for their bad behavior, why is it so hard to credit ourselves (have a little pride) for the good things they do?
I think a lot of it is due to the media. Magazine articles, talk shows, counselors … so many people to be heard saying, “Oh, it’s not you; don’t blame yourself. It’s the mistakes your parents made raising you.”
Well, I say it’s time to throw the bull-pucky flag on that!
It’s not about patting ourselves on the back, or garnering the attention of others. It’s about giving ourselves the freedom to be proud of the job we’ve done in child rearing. It’s about extending grace and forgiveness to ourselves for the mistakes we have made (and yes, we’ve all made plenty!) and not living in the past.
We cannot go back in time for a “do-over”, but we need to remember that as long as we are truly doing our best in raising our children, that is all God expects of us. He wants us to love them, to guide them, to teach them about Him. If we have done that, then we’ve done pretty well. We cannot parent from guilt without harming the children we love.
Of course, as Draylen said in his blog post, we do have to always challenge ourselves to do better where we can.
So, give yourself a little credit – and give credit to anyone who has helped you along the way. Share a word of thanks with them, and let them know that you appreciate all they did to help raise your child. Spouses, parents, grandparents, teachers, friends. It really does take a village.
All in all, as a mother, my prayer is to hold onto the promise found in Proverbs 31:27-30:
“She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
“Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all.”
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”