I was complimenting one of my mentors on her amazing 4 adult children and she responded with:
“I decided awhile ago that if I’m going to take credit for the good that they do, I’m going to have to take credit for the bad too.”
We pour a lot of time and effort into our children. On a day-to-day basis we don’t typically see the fruits of our labor. There will be the temptation when they are heading off to college, getting internships, finding a spouse, working…for us to take credit for how well they turn out. But they will also go through years where we may not agree with choices they make. If we are going to take credit for the good, we will have to take credit for the bad.
Even with young children, we can brag on and on about something cute, amazing, or brilliant they have done…but do we share the embarrassing stories as well?
Take for example my 4 year old. He is such a sweet heart. The other day I was crying because a close friend’s dad had just died of cancer. He asked me why I was crying and then responded with, “Well we could pray.” Precious.
I felt like all the time I had modeled praying in the moment had sunk in. He understood where our Help & Strength comes from. I felt like a really great mom. A winner.
The previous day, however, he didn’t not make such good choices.
While I was making dinner and cutting the fat off some chicken, he reached up grabbed a small piece of chicken and put it in his mouth. WHAT!?! “spit it out!! Go wash your hands!! gross!!” I didn’t think to tell him not to eat raw chicken or that he would even think to do it.
An hour later we had finished up our Truth in the Tinsel ornaments and had hung them on the tree. I was talking with the boys about Christmas Carols and cleaning up the art supplies when I look up to see my 4 yr old leaping from the sidearm of the couch into our Christmas tree!!!
Like a little monkey clinging on to the side of the tree, it swung back and then ricocheted forward. All this time I’m screaming, “NO!!!! What are you doing?!!!”. I ran to catch the tree as it came crashing toward the floor, ornaments spilling everywhere. (no I did not get a picture!)
In my head I thought, “this is funny, I should be laughing” but in my pregnant emotional state I started crying and verbalizing how sad I was that Christmas was ruined. I sat on the floor at the base of the tree trying to get it to stand back up, lamenting my role as a mom of wild boys.
Do I want to take credit for that behavior? I’ve let him see that seen from “Elf” where Buddy jumps into the tree to put the star on the top. I hadn’t told him NOT to jump into the Christmas tree. So do I want to take the blame for that?
Yes, our children have free wills. Yes, they have sin nature (not that either of these examples are sin). Yes, they will be independent adults some day and each suffer the consequences of their actions.
My point, and my mentor’s point, is that as moms we need to do our best to train our children in the way we feel God wants them to go. But as far as the results…we can’t take credit for whether there are good or bad results along the way.
It makes me think of the quote I loved from “Give them Grace”, we can’t assume that “good parenting in means good kids out.” We must be faithful in our role as parents and leave the results to God. “Salvation belongs to the Lord” (Ps 3:8).