When the idea for this post popped into my head last week, I cringed.
I didn’t know if I wanted to write it because it was just so true and humbling and also because the written word can so easily be misunderstood. We’ve all had a conversation over text take a sour turn in our minds because we can’t see or hear tone and intentions the same way we can in person.
I also feared writing it for fear us moms would heap more guilt on ourselves. No, we don’t need that. So that’s not the point here.
The point is fear.
The fear that haunts parents. The thoughts that keep us up at night. Why are we so afraid for our kids? Well, there are plenty of good reasons. Our world has gone plain crazy. But I guess it’s always been this way in different ways.
We don’t have to flip too far into the first book of the Bible to see how crazy the world has always been. People killing their own, sin overtaking the culture, death, pride and influences that make parents want to keep their babies home safe forever. I’m sure that hasn’t changed at all over the years.
Fear does that to people. It makes us want to hold on tightly assuming we hold the keys to the best for our kids. We might hold some of the most beneficial words and ways of wisdom for them (that come from us knowing and displaying God’s ways), but we are not the end all for our kids.
At times, I convince myself that how we do things in our home are only beneficial for our kids and the way the world at large does things are only detrimental for them. “They” and “that influence” is what we want to avoid for our kids. But is that really a healthy truth for us to hold onto?
What if the way we carry ourselves, the way we react in anger, the way we’re impatient, the way we’re prideful and the way we’re distracted will teach our kids more about what they want to avoid than the world ever could?
What if the repeated lessons our kids are ingesting via our poor attitudes and actions stick more solidly in their minds than the occasional harmful influence from the outside?
What if our fear of the outside world teaches our kids to shirk back when God is nudging them forward?
What if our sheltering and avoiding conveys a strong message that the people different than us are to be feared and hurriedly passed by and our kids grow to pass by the very ones they were made to stop and help?
What if the way we speak down to our kids makes it second nature for them to do the same to people they have influence over later?
Sitting in boiling water for an extended period will do much more damage than taking a dip into it, right?
We do loads of good and healthy things for and with our kids (Deuteronomy 11-style) and yet I see myself continuing in ways that are damaging to them as well. I see them perpetuating my ways in their own lives. For good and for bad. Our kids have their own free will, yes, but so do we. How are we using that gift?
Of course we aren’t perfect. Of course our kids are gonna see our sin and how we repent and turn away from it (that’s the hope). But we can’t preach to our kids the evils of the world without taking a look at ourselves.
We don’t need more guilt, that’s for sure, but perhaps we need a wake up call and the growth that can come from taking a look at ourselves in a new light. A true light.
Perhaps we need to take our influence seriously and say no to minimizing our sin while vilifying anyone and everything but ourselves and instead start an upswing of grace flowing from us to our kids and then out into the world.