I was talking with a group of moms with young children when one of them asked me about parenting. I think she posed the question, “If you could boil it down to one thing, what would you give as advice for raising kids?”
WOW! That’s a tough question! I couldn’t imagine only one piece of advice that would encompass the broad, changing, challenging journey of raising kids! I paused and I really believe the Holy Spirit reminded me of a common theme God has spoken to me that answers her question and also applies to every one whether they are raising kids or not.
Do Hard Things.
The devil (the thief) is always trying to get us to take the easy way out. He wants us to over commit, not deal with issues, avoid pain, and get into unhealthy patterns in our relationships. He wants us to settle for the mediocre, status quo, second best and bare minimum. And, if he can get us to cave into this in our parenting, even better!
“A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” John 10:10 MSG
Making the harder, more “painful in the moment” choice in order to have a long term result is more valuable and lasting. Our flesh craves comfort, ease and instant gratification. Building a life of faith takes work, time, and pushing through pain. The rich and satisfying life that Jesus makes available to us, a better life than we ever dreamed of, requires doing some hard things.
Here’s what Do Hard Things looks like with kids:
- When your 2 year old is pitching a fit and you’re tempted to give in, don’t. Even if it means the fit continues.
- When your kids are having a bad day and you have plans with friends, maybe the hard thing would be to stay home and work on training.
- Consider how you are communicating with your kids at any age, are you getting down on their level? Are you putting into terms they understand? Are you giving the conversation the time it needs? Are you giving them too much information all at once?
- When you have negative default patterns in your family dynamics, ask God how to make changes for the better.
- When you want to avoid pain for your kids, ask yourself if this is an opportunity for them to grow. Consider steering them into the pain while you are available to walk them through it. The world will throw them many more opportunities to deal with pain and you will be glad you gave them a safe place to figure it out with you.
Here’s what Do Hard Things looks like in this season of my life:
- Have a crucial conversation when it’s necessary.
- Say “no” when you’re tempted to say “yes” because you feel bad.
- Follow through with the intentional choices when the pressure is on to give in.
- Don’t Quit!