I would have trained for this parenting marathon more effectively if I had known the endurance that it would take.
We started school in August, yet in February I still battle:
- not brushing teeth before it's time to leave
- not putting on socks as part of getting dressed
- occasionally "forgetting" to do homework assignments
- very often neglecting to empty lunch boxes and put away backpacks and coats
Aside from school related issues, my children have been asked to clear their plates and cups after every meal since each one was barely three years old. Yet somehow, there is the daily illusion that a housekeeper will do it (until Mom calls them back and then the remember that they forgot).
We have never tolerated lying. Truth telling is a non-negotiable in our home. But alas, this morning I battled a certain son to fess up about taking gum from my purse without asking. An offense I most certainly would have responded with a simple request to not take without asking.
But now I have to give a much more severe consequence for the lie.
I have one son who is well beyond potty training years who can't seem to make time to go to the bathroom. We have been to a number of medical doctors, a therapist, purchased a watch with a vibrating reminder alarm, talked to his teacher, given rewards, and imposed consequences.
Still, no consistent success.
And I'm tired!
As I walked back alone from the bus stop this morning I felt defeated. I'm the first to admit to my many faults, but I generally take a little pride in putting "my all" into parenting. Consistent expectations, consistent discipline, consistent love, and consistent involvement are all keys to successful parenting.
Or so I thought.
That short walk home was enough time for one word to stand out to me.
Me taking pride?
Opposite of pride - HUMILITY.
Suddenly, I find myself humbled because I don't really know any of the answers. I'm running this marathon without knowing where the next sharp turn or mountain ascent will be. Pride has no place here because I have never run this race before. I didn't even train for it.
So, I open my front door and kick off my snow boots newly humbled. If I knew all the answers and could do this on my own, why in the world would I have need to ask God for help and active involvement in my life?
I have no answers of my own - but the truth of His word surfaces.
I have no confidence in my abilities - but I know:
- He will never leave me. (Joshua 1:5)
- His grace is sufficient (to cover for my screw ups) and His power is made perfect in my (many) weakness(es). (2 Corinthians 12:9)
- His mercies are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
I'm clinging to those simple truths this morning.