Thursday, July 26, 2012

Issues of the Heart

"Just wait until they hit 14!"

The "voice of encouragement" offered by far too many parents, in my opinion.

What happens to your decision making and attitudes as you age {no matter what the age} has oh so much to do with the attitudes and decisions you've been making...or have been allowed to make since birth. By your parents.

Parenting is not easy, but it's not that hard either. It's life. It's relationships. It's involved. Involvement tends to equal hard work. in time and labour intensive...but still enjoyable.

I can really only speak to the amount of parenting that I have actually done. Which is 6.5 years worth. Having yet to see "my product" turn out well, my advice is perhaps not the most credible. But I have been parented for 33.5 years, and over that time and have had the opportunity to observe many parents, not just my own. People who have turned out a "good product". People who have credibility. So my advice is not necessarily original to me. I pattern myself after others who have sought to follow the Lord in this area and do right by the people they are bringing up in the world.

So back to parenting. Isn't it a little petrifying that I am held responsible for the decisions of my child, in the eyes of the Lord? That I will someday answer for not only myself, but the part of me that is in them too. The part that I instructed. Or failed to.

Each child has their own issues of life...things that need to be trained out of them, and things lacking that need to be trained into them, from day 1. Yes, day 1. Babies are a lot smarter than we give them credit for.

As a somewhat superficial (yet valid) example, Brooks is a cry-baby. He's been a nervous wreck from birth, worried about everything. Scared of everything under the sun. Petrified, really. He'll cry at the drop of a hat because he saw a fly, you looked at him weird, he fell down, he doesn't like his dinner, you asked him a question he doesn't know the answer to...and on and on it goes.

As a 2 year old, these are fairly "acceptable" behaviours. As a 5 year old, he's by and large over it all, for the most part. He's still scared about everything, but he's learning how to deal with his emotions in an appropriate way and doesn't have such ridiculous outbursts anymore.

As a 20 year old, if he can't live life as a capable, strong, leader, and will not be his fault. It will be mine. As his parents, it's our job to see his issues and areas of weakness and instruct him. These won't be issues that popped up out of nowhere, these are things that go to the core of his being. On the flip side, if he is completely emotionally cold, that will be on me too. There is a balance, in all areas of life. As parents, and students of our children - we need to know what we're up against with each individual child. And know yourself too. The saying the apple doesn't fall far from the tree...well guess what? Your kids are mini versions of you. They have the same issues as you, too.

Sometimes I think parents give themselves the "pass card" too often. Of course I am not excusing the fact that teens and adults do have their own minds and make their own decisions. So it can be possible to "do everything right" and still have an undesirable {to you} result in the end. And it also does not apply to the majority of people, but I would suspect, applies only to a small minority. Ultimately, we belong to the Lord, and He is in control. But that does not excuse parents from doing their jobs, and attempting to do them well, with the leading of the Holy Spirit.

There seems to be a million people with families completely out of control and they (parents) doing nothing proactively about it. They camp on the verse "when he is old he will not depart from it". Depart from what? How actively were you working out the issues of his heart?

It's a call to be pro-active, and take parenting seriously. It's a call build strong relationships with our children. And not just because they'll be picking out your nursing home someday:-) It's a call to man up and take responsibility for the way our kids are turning out.

Of course my kids are young and it's not yet embarrassing to accept that responsibility. I sure do hope that one day I will not have to be embarrassed for the way they live. By God's grace. I refuse to believe that a switch is magically flipped when some teen turns "14".

Lord, give me the wisdom and courage that I need to raise men and women who love, honour and serve You above all else.


  1. Such wise words, Darla. Your kids are an amazing example of this in action. I know they aren't perfect, but you are so intentional about your parenting and it really shows.

  2. I agree with you. My two favorite parenting books (at this point at least) are Shepherding a Child's Heart and Don't Make Me Count to Three. Both emphasize being a proactive instead of reactive parent and actually taking the time to correct and train your children. It's not easy but I know it's worth it!