Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.
As I was cooking lunch I hear screaming and yelling coming from the family room. While my oldest child screams and yells at his siblings I can hear all the words as if they are coming right out of my mouth. I think to myself that I've completely failed. He has turned into me, all the mean and ugly things in me.
My head starts churning, how can I fix this? I've read so many things that say a child becomes who they are by age 5. They develop all their character traits by that age and learn how to move through the world by that age. Honestly, it feels hopeless. My kids are 13, 8, almost 5 and 2. So 3 of the 4 are already beyond the point of no return. I've created angry little people who have poor self esteem and only know how to communicate by yelling when conflicts come up.
This is a bunch of junk. If I allow myself to believe this I am totally limiting the power of God. They are not done. They are not a lost cause. Come on, see it for what it is, a pack of lies.
God gave me these children knowing exactly what my weaknesses were. He knew I would mess it up. There is no parent in the world who doesn't mess it up. When I allow myself to get consumed by regret and shame with all the mistakes I've made parenting them, that is when I really lose.
The devil wants nothing more than to bog me down with parental despair! Being caught up in all the things I do wrong only perpetuates the problem. I get frustrated and hopeless and I act out at them with those emotions, just teaching them more bad habits. It's an ugly cycle I will have to break again and again.
But what does God say about that?
2 Corinthians 12:9
New International Version (NIV)
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
His power is made perfect in my weakness?? But how? I'm supposed to be teaching them all those good things, like the fruit of the spirit, you know, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and so on.
I needed to rethink this all. How do I train them...wait a minute. God's power is made perfect in my weakness.
They are learning all those things about God from watching his power in me.
As I am growing closer to God he is being reflected out of me. He has changed the things I am reflecting to all of those things of his, the patience and kindness, the joy and peace.
Stop worrying about those past mistakes and keep focusing on God. Wake up with him, go to sleep with him and seek him all day. The more time I spend with God the more I become like him, the more opportunities my kids have to see his power made perfect through my weakness.
Yes, they are still going to see me get angry and make mistakes, but they will also see me changing, God changing me. In my mistakes I can teach them humility, being willing to admit my mistakes and seek God's help correcting them. I will actively teach them that God is the only one who can fix us.
Parenting isn't about power. It is about putting down our pride and admitting we don't know how to do it. Parenting is about allowing our kids to see God's grace and healing power through our own failure.
I'm teaching them who can pick them up when they fall flat on their faces, that is teaching them in the way they should go.
Child development isn't done at 5, it is only beginning.