Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Lesson in Parenting

I had one of those lightbulb moments.  An epiphany, if you will.  It actually happened a few weeks ago, but I kept forgetting to blog it.

Now, the story I have to tell is about a friend of mine.  I'm not writing this to pat her on the back or glorify her.  I don't want to make her head swell.  *grin*  She wouldn't want me to anyway.  Therefore, I'm not going to even put a name.  I will simply call her "friend."  She probably has no clue how she and her sweet daughter impacted me today, but I suppose she will now.

So, I was spending time with this friend when I was in ta-town.  She is a very close friend of mine and we were both desperate to get some time to catch up.  Our kids usually love being together, as well, so it was win-win.

You see, my friend had one of those "teachable moments" and she took advantage of it in a way that I had never thought of and it was powerful for me, as an observer and fellow parent, to witness an area that I had been struggling with be handled so gracefully, so quietly, so thoroughly.

Her daughter is one of the sweetest.  They had one of those moments when the child defiance comes out and rears its ugly head.  My friend asked her daughter to do something and she stubbornly stared her mommy down.  I thought to myself, "Uh-oh."

What my friend did next was what amazed me, but the reaction she got amazed me more.  "Little Girl (though she used her first and middle name), what does Ephesians 6:1 say?  The little girl looked at her with big eyes.  "What does it say?"

"Children obey your parents in the Lord."  She responded with eyes lowered.

"Okay, then" my friend said.

Here's the amazing part: That sweet girl began completing the required task.  I nearly dropped my baby from shock at how seemlessly that event occurred. 

Now, I know that my friend would assure you that things do not always go that way.  However, I noted several things in this exchange.

1.  That little girl KNOWS the love of God and of her parents.  There was no question in her little mind that if the Bible says it, then it is important.

2.  It is never too young to start instilling the Word in the hearts of our children.  I've worked on things here and there (mostly songs) with my children.  However, take it to heart, dear readers, that when it says that it is useful for training and is TRUE!  (2 Tim 3:16)

3.  By simply asking a calm, even-toned question, that mommy got the desired response and used it as an object lesson for Biblical principles.

4.  That sweet girl learned a bit about grace that day, as well.  Her mother could have spanked at the first sign of defiance.  I think that we've all had our days when we'd like to swat them if they sneeze at the wrong time.  However, instead of an instant swat, she had the opportunity to recite scripture and then make a better choice.

I had more items at the time, but as I said, it was a few weeks ago and I've lost them.

However, the point of this post is this: We have ~12 hours a day to be teaching our children.  What ARE we teaching them in that time?  Respect and obedience?  How to turn the channel on the TV?  Love and sharing?  How to turn on their own DVD?  If they can learn their numbers, colors, letters, and shapes, surely they can learn the most important words ever penned.

We have GOT to be teaching our children the IMPORTANT things.

So, my friend, I know that I was not going to 'pat you on the back,' but thank you for teaching ME while teaching your daughter.  It is a lesson that I hope to take with me throughout this journey we call motherhood.

I'm just an ordinary momma trying to be more like Christ...

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