I hear it everyday in the way my four year old talks to his brother. I see in their response to the smallest inconvenience. The harshness. The complaining and whining. The nearly violent fit throwing. These aren’t just your average normal sinful responses. No these were learned from the one person who is responsible for teaching them how to handle whatever life throws at them. These habits were learned from me.
No One Else to Blame
I could give the excuse of being so young when I had kids (I was 21) and that I should have given myself more time to grow up. But to be honest I don’t think I would have. Most of my growing has been done as a direct result of the challenges I have faced as a mom. But that’s a different topic for another time.
The truth is I have no excuse. I have no right to explode in frustration when things aren’t fitting in my idealist image. I have no one to blame but myself when I choose to make my every little interruption personal. I and I alone am responsible for the bad habitual attitudes my kids display.
I wish this were a “How to End Bad Attitudes Forever” post. Sadly though, whining, harshness, and just plain grumpiness is still very much a part of both my life and my boys’ lives. But I’m coming to realize this is a mercy for me.
Grumpiness is Grace?
How could cranky kids making me cranky be a mercy? Let me explain.
The Whining. Nothing makes me crazier than whining. I take it very personally even though the reason for it has nothing to do with me. But it makes me think about how often I whine to God about every little thing. This realization is helping transform my prayer life from just listing off my grievances to actually praising and thanking God for his blessings.
The Harshness. Hearing the harshness in my children’s voices is a very painful reminder that all to often that is the tone I use with them. It causes me to run to the Gentle Shepherd and ask for his strength to speak with gentleness and filter my words to build up not tear down.
The Grumpiness. I read a quote somewhere and wish I knew where it originated. But from the moment I read it, I knew this had to be my life-long motto. “Was it a bad day, or just a bad 5 minutes that turned into a bad day?” Anyone else saying ouch? Today was a perfect example of that. My morning started off rough. By the time breakfast was made I was angry, depressed and defeated. Instead of choosing to to limit my bad attitude to the 5 minutes which might have called for it (not really) , I let it poison my entire morning. But looking back on it, I see that God was giving me the chance to respond in grace, and I failed miserably. As a result, I am mentally crawling back to my Gracious Savior who has already forgiven and forgotten all of my offenses against Him.
A Gift. A Calling
Children truly are a gift of God’s grace. He uses them to teach you things about yourself that you may not have known. He uses them to bring us joy through their laughter and smiles. And it’s through them that He keeps us humble, continuously driving us to him, knowing that he alone can provide us with the ability to glorify him through the calling of parenthood.
How has God used your kids to grow you?