The Seminary Wife | Judgmental Parenting

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The Seminary Wife | Judgmental Parenting

OK Moms and Dads . . . fess up. You’ve all been there. You are in a room with other parents and kids. A situation occurs with a child and the way that parent handles the situation makes you cringe and inwardly roll your eyes. Or perhaps as soon as the car seats are buckled in, you turn to your spouse and say, “Can you believe how she let her child talk to her??” I’ll be the first to admit it-I’ve been that judgmental parent. Have you? God has so gently used one of my best friends to show me just how judgmental and self-righteous I really can be when it comes to parenting ideologies. This dear girl friend is at the complete opposite end of the parenting spectrum from me. I put my babies in a crib from day one. She co-sleeps or has her baby in her room with her until they are ready to sleep on their own. I eventually let my babies cry it out. For her, that would be pure torture. I believe in spankings and time outs, while she uses verbal redirection. Obedience is a pretty big priority in our household; the child’s emotional security reigns in hers. Completely opposite parenting styles. So which one is correct? I used to think there really was one correct parenting style. However as God reveals to me my own sin, I’m able to look at others and their styles of parenting through Grace covered eyes. I can see that there isn’t one “right way.” Sure, there are truths of scripture that we can’t ignore. Grace never means giving our children a license to sin. But, it’s very possible that two parents can agree on the overarching principals of scripture and still adopt different methodologies. It’s really up to Jesus to show us how we parent each child. What I’ve learned from watching my friend parent is that if a Mom and Dad love Jesus, and He is the true Lord of their lives, then His radical grace is able to make their efforts fruitful. My friend loves her children fiercely and is so good at spending quality time with them, doing whatever it is that their little age appropriate heart desires. She is a great example to me of a Mom who sacrifices for the good of others. Her desire is to teach her children what it means to love Jesus, and love others. I love my children fiercely too, but parent very differently than my friend. Is it possible our theologies on God are somewhat different? Maybe. Will my children and my friend’s children live out their faith differently as adults? Probably. But who wants a world full of Christians who look, think, and act the exact same way? God created us each with a different set of wiring for the purpose of fulfilling different missions in HIS mission on this earth. The reality is that I need to seek God’s wisdom for parenting my different children just as much as my friend. Neither of us can cling too tightly to any one parenting theory, because it is just that: a theory. Each individual kid can (and will) prove different theories to be inaccurate. I know my plan for parenting changed some once I actually became a parent! The next time you find yourself surrounded by a group of parents and their children and feel a cringe coming on . . . resist the urge to roll your eyes. You may think you know what’s best for their kid, but ultimately only God knows what’s best for all of us. Let’s spend more time listening to the Holy Spirit and trust that His Grace is sufficient to parent through us.

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