Why Kindness is the Most Important Part of Parenting

“I don’t have time for this today!” I breathed out, annoyed by my son’s bad attitude.

He had buried his head in the pillow of our sofa and wasn’t budging because of his frustration with our homeschooling day.

He also made sure to let me know how “mean” I was being for making him do this worksheet.

“Would you please get up and come to do this work!” I raised my voice, more than a little exasperated.

He ignored my command and instead kept his ostrich posture.

“Fine, keep your head buried as long as you’d like. When you’re ready to talk I’ll be over here working.” I turned back to my computer screen, happy for a moment’s peace from my highly sensitive nine-year old’s tantrum.

My boy kept his head buried in the pillow for roughly five minutes—I’ve got to hand it to him, that showed some serious commitment—while I fumed and typed.

As he finally emerged from his shell of a pillow, arm still covering his face, he let out a soft, “You weren’t listening to me…I was trying to ask you a question.”

You’re Right…I’m less Right

If you’ve ever seen the movie, Megamind, you’ll appreciate that little sub-heading. (I’m just full of kids movie references in case you’re ever in search of a great one and need somewhere to turn. I know, this is an invaluable talent to have.) 

I hate admitting when I’m wrong and it’s especially hard admitting when you’re at fault to your nine-year-old son.

Letting out a deep sigh, I realized that I wasn’t annoyed at him really, but more by my own lack of enough time and hurried demeanor. If I was being perfectly honest with myself, I just wanted him to “do” and not feel today.

The push of my to-do list was being felt and I was trying to do two things at once, which, might I add, always ends so well. I pretty much wanted him to be quiet and do his work so I could get mine done.

I was sure today didn’t allow for patient parenting and hundreds of questions while he decided to overcome his sour mood.

Long story short, he was right.

I was being impatient and unkind with his sour mood because I had too many to-dos. My agenda certainly isn’t more important than those that I love. But far too often, that’s exactly how I behave.

These realizations came suddenly while staring at the back of my little boy’s arm that presently covered his puffy tear-stained eyes.

I was treating him like an unfeeling robot because I was overwhelmed by “busy.”

Nobody’s mind has ever actually been changed by freaking out and demanding they just “do.” I guess if my child were made of tin and wires that tactic would work.

But he’s not.

I have a real, living, thinking, feeling child. And I need to remember to treat him that way.

Just like me, my son has off days. And just like me, he needs extra care and tenderness, particularly on those days.

I’m pretty sure you can relate if you’re a parent

As parents, I am confident we will all come to this place of struggle with our children at many points on this journey.

Perhaps today you have a child that is walking away from the faith you have instilled in them or maybe they’re at an extremely rebellious stage.

Maybe you’re more like me right now and it’s something smaller or day-to-day, like wrestling with a nine-year-old while homeschooling.

Regardless, we can’t expect them to change their minds because “we said so,” especially, I’m afraid, the older they get.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my children to simply “do” while their hearts are silently growing bitter.

As my children have grown, I realize the struggles they face are far more complex than when they were young and parenting them with kindness is more important than ever.  Parenting with kindness is extending grace and giving love in spite of the ugly that their sin-stained hearts may project. It is instilling within them an attitude of kindness that they can then extend to others.

I truly believe that in parenting, we are to emulate how God parents us:

With kindness.

“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” Romans 2:4 NASB

A changing of mind takes time and care. Our children deserve more than our rushed words and hurried admonition. They need our ears, attention and time to change.

They need our kindness to lead them to repentance. Kindness is what changes hearts, changes minds and breaks down barriers.

After all, it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. Why would I ever think it would be any different with my children?

No matter the situation: I believe kindness, patience, prayer, and guidance while awaiting their heart to soften and change, is exactly what God ordered. Whether it’s in five minutes or five years.

If love is patient, kind and does not act unbecomingly, as I Corinthians 13 states, then parenting and even discipline should be kind as well.

His Kindness Leads to Repentance

I always desire compassion, tolerance, and patience for my downfalls and shortcomings. Regretfully so, I do not always allow the same for others and certainly not for my own children.

God spoke truth to me through my little boy and as usual, His kindness led me to repentance…


Pushing my laptop aside, I slowly removed his arm from his face and whispered, “I’m sorry I wasn’t listening.”

I craned my neck down and cradled his chin in my hand. “You hurt my feelings too when you weren’t listening to me,” I explained.

His sad countenance slipped away as he looked up with powder blue eyes and cautiously smiled. “It’s okay… I’m sorry too.”

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:23 NASB


Why Kindness is the Most Important Part of Parenting.

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How to Have Faith Like a Child and Choose Brave

If you’re always happy you’d never get the chance to be brave…” Emerson, aka. “Tiny pants”

How to have faith like a child and choose brave

There is a woman in our town that takes walks down the road almost every day. She walks a distance and then finds herself a street corner and dances, lifting her hands up, twirling around and waving at those passing by.

I’m not sure why she does this, everyone has their opinions on the matter. What I do know is that I have three boys that think she’s hilarious. They’ve dubbed her “the dancing lady.”

On a random Tuesday afternoon, my nine-year-old pointed out “the dancing lady” as we drove by.

“Mom, she’s just always happy, isn’t she?”

I glanced over to the right while driving, “Yeah, I guess she is.”

Emerson continued watching the “dancing lady” as we continued on.

“I think I’d like to feel like her all the time,” I commented nonchalantly with a smile in my rearview mirror.

“I wouldn’t want to.” He reflected while watching the world pass by outside his window.

“What do you mean?” I asked, meeting his pale blue eyes in the mirror.

“Well, if you were always happy, you’d never get the chance to be brave.” He stated matter of factly.

I couldn’t help but smile. “Yes… that’s really true.”

We pulled into the driveway a few minutes later and he ran off inside, on to the next thing with no clue as to how profound his words were.

The chance to be brave

I have kept those words close to my heart.

There is wisdom to be found in the words spoken by my nine-year-old on that random Tuesday afternoon.

I believe that children can be brave in ways that many adults don’t know how to be.

Mostly because I’ve watched my boys do scary things time and again, in spite of the fear they felt.

Like the time my middle son was brand new to baseball and his coach called him in to be the pitcher for the first time.

(He is his mama’s son and deals with anxiety as well; *sigh* sorry son.)

He was terrified to pitch but wanted to try.

I watched him walk up to the pitcher’s mound, heart pounding, palms sweaty and nerves on edge. Anxiously glancing my way every once in a while for support.

Everything he was feeling was telling him to run, but he stayed. He pitched.

Was he the best?

No.

But he did his best.

You could see how he walked a little taller after coming off of that pitcher’s mound with a few strikes under his belt.

He wore those strikes— as well as the walks— as a badge of honor.

Because he chose bravery.

Humble like a child…

It’s no wonder that Jesus gave instructions for people to become like a child;

Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18: 4

Children see things through eyes unpolluted by the world. Faith in a God that doesn’t make sense on an intellectual level isn’t all that hard for a child.

They realize, unlike most adults, that maybe they don’t know it all.

They still live in a world of possibilities and believe in the likelihood of the unseen.

It humbles me when I look at things through their perspective.

When I’m upset or anxious, my very first thought is not a chance for bravery or for humility. My first thought is the preservation of my perfect environment — “How do I get rid of this?!”

Instead of chasing down happy at every turn, I can choose bravery instead.

Sometimes simply being content right where we are is choosing brave. Contentment in those hard moments isn’t easy but it’s so worth it. And we can be assured that something bigger and better is being built from them.

I am still amazed by his comment.

I’m a proud mama knowing he’d rather take the opportunities to be brave over being happy all of the time.

It sounds a bit like the faith God asks us to have.

To trust that this isn’t all there is—the bad, the ugly and all this in-between—there is so much more. We just have to choose brave in the meantime.

The simple faith of a child…

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss my opportunities to be brave.

I realize they can come in the tiniest of moments.

And what I’ve come to find, is that in these moments to choose brave, wisdom often walks right alongside.

Like out of the mouth of my nine-year-old son on a random Tuesday afternoon.


 How to Have faith like a child and Choose Brave.

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An Open Letter to My Three Boys…

Do you have sons? What would you share with them if you wrote them a letter? As a mom of three boys, I gave it a try. Here's an open letter to my boys. #parenting #boys #lettertomysons

I’m honored to be featured this week over at Char’s blog, Trekking Thru the Week. 

TrekkingThru

Dear Son,

I immediately felt the fiercest love for you from the moment I knew you were real. Indeed, countless hours were spent imagining the curve of your face and what hue of brown or blue your eyes would be.

Our greatest hopes for you from the beginning were happiness and safety. However, with wisdom comes the understanding that we can not always keep you happy and safe.

You, my beloved son, will become well acquainted with sadness and disappointment in your life. Because of this truth, my hopes and prayers are a bit different then they used to be…

Do you have sons? What would you share with them if you wrote them a letter? As a mom of three boys, I gave it a try. Here's an open letter to my boys. #parenting #boys #lettertomysons

An Open Letter to My Three Boys…

A mother’s longings for her son:

Happiness should never be your ultimate goal

Son, unfortunately, our world teaches you that your greatest goal in life should be attaining and keeping your happiness.

And, take it from your mama, none of us are guaranteed constant happiness in this life. Further, entertaining, attaining, and keeping this fickle emotion should never be our greatest goal.

Additionally, something or someone that makes you happy in a moment can turnabout and make you miserable a moment later.

Truly, true joy is something that must enter your heart and sustain you when the simple emotion of happiness is nowhere to be found.

Son, the truth is, that often our happiness will come at the expense of someone else’s. In addition, what we do to attain our own happiness in a moment can cost quite a fortune for another.

Remember this my sweet little man, and count the cost.

Come on over to Trekking Thru the Week to read the rest of this post.

An Open Letter to My Three Boys…

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I Would Have Lost Heart Unless I had Believed…

I Would Have Lost Heart Unless I had Believed. #hope #believed #despair

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage;”

Psalm 27:13-14 nasb

 

I sat down to finish writing something entirely different, but my fingers wouldn’t type.

So, I walked away.

I find myself in a familiar place today –

Afraid.

Too anxious to sit. Too scrambled to articulate sentences and think up pretty words.

I’m not myself – or rather, a previous form of myself.

I don’t like her very much and I struggle to give her grace when she shows up.

I Would Have Lost Heart Unless I had Believed. #hope #believed #despair

I Would Have Lost Heart Unless I had Believed…

I’m battling a cold and tiredness seems to engulf me today.

My youngest is home sick, he woke up at three a.m. with a high fever and cough. After giving him medicine and a cool towel we sat together and watched some of the Olympics. My little guy drifted off sometime after four and I sat alone in the dark thinking.

I know better than to go deep when the night is heavy around me…

Whispers from the past pull me down

Lying in bed next to my sweet, sleeping cherub, I wander to a place years ago in the midst of postpartum depression, when my older son was sick. Back to a time when life seemed unbearable because I was having severe anxiety and obsessive, intrusive thoughts.

I was physically present but not so much emotionally and mentally, which left my memories blurred.

My boys are no longer little. Two of them are teenagers now and my tiniest—as my husband and I call him—turns nine next month. Didn’t I just bring him home from the hospital?

The nagging voice in my mind whispers – Time is short... I shift uncomfortably in my bed because I am all too aware that I can never get those days back.

My breath catches as tears fall while I grieve the past.

It hurts.

The would of’s, should of’s and what if’s are there waiting—so are the fears that once swallowed me whole. None of them truly leave and if I rummage long enough, my emotions match my thoughts. 

I am left feeling helpless and anxious.

Today I am Tired

Memories have that effect on me.

I struggle when ghosts from my past trigger emotional reactions, especially in weak moments.

Today my body is fighting off sickness while my mind fights to stay present. When I’m tired I am more prone to anxiety and then depression always follows closely, seeking an opportunity to descend.

I’ve been waiting for a day like today. I knew it would come and I’d have to write about it…

 

We hear all the time how hard it is to be transparent.

Well, it really is… Hard.

Then the lies…

Who do you think you are to write about overcoming anxiety and depression? You’re still here…

You have nothing to offer…

You’ll never get over this…

The ripple of a stone thrown years ago in the lake of my life still reaches me, even today, on an average snow-covered February morning.

If only life were a sitcom, where we could laugh while all misfortune is neatly summed up in 30 minutes.

But it’s not.

Life is complicated, tangled and imperfect.

I’d love to tell you I am wrapped up in the prettiest paper and neatly tied with a bow. But this would be a lie because I am a work in progress. Bad days happen when you deal with anxiety and depression. And often for me, it’s the memories that set one in motion.

But God…

Making some soup for my boy, I spotted the most beautiful little bird amidst the snow outside my back window. He didn’t seem to mind the frozen ground, pecking and digging until he found a worm. Satisfied with his loot he flew off to the nearest tree and sang a song until another sweet melody responded.

Observing my feathered friend on this crisp winter morning, reminded again that God is faithful.

He was then, He is now.

“I would have despaired unless I had believed…”

I love the King James Version of this scripture – I would have lost heart unless I had believed…”

Oh, how I lose heart when I forget to believe! It is so tempting to look back and try to manipulate the events of our lives – although, the only thing altered is us – we are left defeated, sad and helpless by lingering too long in the unchangeable.

But God…

“I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.”

He reminds me of His faithful goodness IN the land of the living.

Right. Now.

When I dig through the icy memories at my feet I find Him there. The goodness of the Lord, even in the cold, even in the muck. When I do, I rise above the cold to sing a song of rejoicing for where I am AT this moment.

“Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage;”

I texted my husband to ask for prayer and my sweet guy told me to look at the cross. “You don’t have to try harder, He did it all, just look up in faith to Him.”

Today I wait.

I wait for this to pass.

I fight to stay in the moment and remember that sometimes fighting doesn’t mean pulling out weapons and battling until you’re bloody. Occasionally it looks a lot like waiting. Allowing your heart to take courage by standing firm in the truth you already know. It takes a little time for our heart to thaw and take in courage.

Then my guy told me something else. “Don’t try… Just write,” he said.

So, I write

My little boy is snuggled in watching movies next to me, his fever warmed skin pressed against mine. I nuzzle my face into his sweaty head of hair as his blue eyes gaze up at Wreck-It-Ralph. All while remembering to breathe out a quiet thankfulness for this moment, time alone with my Tiny while my older two are at school.

Days like today take place, they just do.

Triggers come and sad, anxious days will occur. But just as the delicate bird sings his song amongst the wintry frost, I choose to believe I will see the goodness of the Lord IN the now.

Reminders of past victories and present grace.

Hope.

Won’t you join me today in thanking Him for the hard days as well as the good? They will come and that’s okay.

“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble… God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.” Psalm 46: 1-2 &5 NASB

 

I’m linking up with some fantastic fellow bloggers this week – click on the links and join me over there!

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Holley Gerth

 

          

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