Saturday, June 4, 2016

Tell Me What to do With this Child

It's funny how I knew everything about parenting before I became a mom. Since I worked in family counseling, I studied childhood development and parenting quite a bit. I even taught parenting classes. I had all the answers.

Until I had children.

What no one prepared me for was the massive onslaught of questions and situations I simply had no answer for.

My children have asked me questions about their world that I simply didn't have the knowledge to answer. Sometimes I send them to their dad. Sometimes we ask Siri or Google it. Sometimes I simply say I don't know (This, by the way, I think is a good answer to give once in a while. We don't know everything and we don't want to set our kids up for a big fall one day when they suddenly discover this.) Sometimes I'm completely flabbergasted by what they ask. Not because it's inappropriate, but because they ask questions that in my four decades of living I've never thought to ask.

At other times they do things or ask to do things that I'm not sure they shouldn't, but I'm not sure they should either. I'm a "why not?" kind of person. My husband is the opposite, he's sees all the negative possibilities and often needs a good reason to do something instead of a reason not to. I've learned a few of those why nots along the way as I've scrubbed walls, kissed scraped knees, and washed off cakes of mud.

I've also learned to pray more. Probably not as much as I should, but certainly there have been many, many times I've had to go to God for wisdom. Really, though, as often as I'm simply not prepared for something that comes up in this wonderful world of mommyhood, I should be praying over my children constantly.

That's what I love about this verse I came across the other day.

Then Manoah prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born.”
Judges 13:8

This verse is referring to Samson's parents. They had prayed and waited a long time before God promised and then gave them a child. Their response was this prayer. They certainly knew something I didn't - the great need for the Lord's guidance in raising children.

It's crazy, really. That we don't go to God more about our children. I think we've been conditioned to rely on psychology, other parents, and so-called experts in the field of parenting. That's not to say that I haven't learned a lot from people who've studied and/or experienced parenting, but no matter how much they know or share, God knows abundantly more. He knows not only how to be the perfect parent, but He knows every detail of our lives and our children's lives. He knows my personality inside and out and each of my children's personalities inside and out. There is nothing beyond His scope of knowledge or wisdom.

It makes perfect sense to seek Him in parenting. Especially when we simply don't know what to do. I love this prayer that Manoah prayed. I think I'll add it to my daily prayers, because the Lord knows sometimes (okay, quite often) I'm completely beyond my own ability to parent my children in a way that's best for them!

Lord, teach me what to do with this child. Teach me how to help her/him develop a love for You. Teach me how to guide him/her in paths of righteousness. Teach me when and how to discipline him/her in a way that will instill love and respect for You, Your laws, and other people. Teach me how to love in a way that's in his/her best interest. And most of all, teach me how to communicate Your life-saving Gospel in a way that his/her faith becomes his/her own. Thank You! Amen.