Friday, October 7, 2016

When Kids Don't Do What They are Taught to Do



Math is not my favorite.

Geography? Love. It.

History? Fascinating.

Math. Let's just say that when I start hearing numbers in the spoken world, I hear blah blah blah-blah.

There is one thing to love and cherish about math, however. And it is this: 
1+1=2 

See how that works? Safe. Predictable. It makes sense. It is neat and tidy.

With math, formulas are your friend and your lifeline and they do what they are supposed to do. For crying out loud. Wouldn't Math make a great kid?

Here is where math kicks me in the shins and walks away laughing:
My kids don't follow formulas. 1+1 doesn't necessarily equal 2. 
Today 1+1 could = 17.
Or today 1+1 could = chipmunk cheeks. 

My kids do not always do what they are taught to do. 

This realization smacked me around yesterday in a fresh way.

I was excited about my kids joining the growing movement in this country of taking their Bibles to school for a day. It would give my kids practice doing brave things because they love Jesus. A Bible could be the beginning of a conversation about God. Wouldn't my good Christian kids be thrilled? They will be up late the night before, simulating conversations in their little Christian brains. They will practically skip to the (Christian) van in anticipation in the morning. I had such high (Christian) hopes.

So for two days we talked about it and we read about not being ashamed of the Gospel. 

You can see this math equation is going to bomb, can't you?

Out of my six school-aged children, two (2) toted their precious Written Words with them that day. This was astonishing to me. It shouldn't have been, I know that now. But my math formulas were screaming at me from my peripheral. I had been intentionally plugging identity into my children. They know they are what God says and not what their buddies say. They know that scripture is powerful because I taught them that. 

And yet, the math isn't always adding up. 

And yes, I am well aware of my bent towards overreacting.

As I deal with the reality of my kids not always doing what they are taught to do, I come back to two things. One I have known for forever and the other one was told to me by a wise mama.

1. I trust God with my kids. I trust God. I have for 15 years minus one month (Hey! Math that works!). I really do trust God with my kids. And the more I say it, the more I believe it. God is not afraid of my kids' weaknesses or outright sins. He knows them through and through and still he declares good plans over them.

2. Our job is not to raise Godly kids, our job is to BE Godly parents. Isn't that good? A gifted writer and mother said those words to me and my soul nodded. Can any of us MAKE our kids be Godly? Can we force or coerce or shove them into that mold? I can only control myself and my job is to BE Godly. The Godly Kids' part? That is his job. 

Only two of mine are in their teen years and I have much to learn about mathless parenting. As a good mom, I will place 1+1 in their hands and take a (small) step backwards, watching as God does his thing, even when my kids don't do what they were taught to do.

I'm learning. And so are they.


Wise Mama is an author and speaker named Brenda Yoder. For more insights, check out her blog!

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