Do you ever wish, as a parent, you could have a do over? Not everything, but just certain things? I don't want to start over at the very beginning of each of my kids' lives, but I wish I could fix the mistakes I made as a parent.
I know. Every parent makes mistakes, and most kids turn out just fine. God is gracious and will help our kids become the people He wants them to be. However, I can't help but feel some remorse for the things I have done that have fostered attitudes like anger, selfishness, and rudeness.
Do you think I'm being too hard on myself? I appreciate the sentiment, but I don't. I've been in the car with my kids and listened to them, for the umpteenth time, bicker over insignificant things or ask each other to stop humming because it was irritating them. They fight over who is going to sit in the front seat. Why? It isn't that amazing.
We are all born sinful. I get that. But I believe that if I had stayed silent more often than I expressed my opinion or remained calm more often than I groaned out of frustration I may have helped my children to be more peaceful. The attitudes that I display are more often than not learned by my kids.
I wish I had had a crystal ball when I was pregnant. I could have seen how my kids were going to turn out. Don't get me wrong, they are great kids, but there is this undercurrent of entitlement I wish wasn't there.
All the little sarcastic and caustic comments I made when they were little about seemingly insignificant things went straight to their hearts. They heard me say them, and they learned that it was okay. I helped to water the seed of sin. I am guilty, and I must ask forgiveness.
They are teenagers. They have learned the habits. Those things are ingrained in them. What can I do now? Will it do any good to work on my own anger and selfishness at this point? You betcha!
When we turn from our sinful ways, people around us are changed. It may not be a noticeable change at first, but they will realize there is something different. I have found myself lately looking to give people the benefit of the doubt, to believe there is another layer of the story than what appears on the surface. Joe isn't being a jerk just to be a jerk; there is probably something going on in his life that is causing him frustration.
If I show more love towards others, then perhaps my children will show more love towards others (even their siblings). If I find a more constructive way to work out my frustration than with my words, perhaps they will have more peace.
I wish I could do over the parts when I got so mad that I yelled. It was usually over really stupid things. I wish that I could do over the parts when I said something not-so-nice while I was driving. I have no right to judge.
I realize now that as a parent we often have to do things that go against what comes naturally for the sake of our children. If you aren't a parent yet or are expecting, please heed this warning: Your children will be like you—in the good and the bad. Do what you must to prevent the sin that is within you spilling over into your kids. Fight the urge to spew venom when someone cuts you off. Fight the urge to be negative. Life is too short. The time we have with our kids is too short. Those formative years are even shorter.
Of course, for all of our greatest efforts, our kids will still have weaknesses and sins in their lives, but do what you can to keep from giving them yours. I will strive (through prayer) to become more Christ-like, to give my kids an example they can follow, a mom they can be proud of. Hopefully, this will help them to be parents who are positive and peaceful and selfless.