From the moment our children enter our lives, we love them, we nurture them, we prioritize them, and we worry about them. Unfortunately, as parents, we worry a lot. Right now with so many of us homeschooling children and walking them through this pandemic, our worry is probably at an all-time high. Maybe you have young children at home that you are trying to keep busy, or you have a child with special needs who is really struggling with online learning, or you may be like me, the parent of teens who miss their freedom and their social lives. None of this is easy. As parents, it is easy for us to think we have to be the answer to our kids for everything. What we have to remember, and what I was recently reminded of, is that we are not parenting alone.
“Mom, you are so annoying.”, “Mom, I know. You don’t have to tell me again.”, “Mom, I can think for myself.”. These are just a couple of the things my kids have been communicating to me in recent weeks. It hasn’t been easy to hear. It has definitely caused friction and heartache for me. Why are my kids so frustrated with me? Is it just because they are teenagers and this is the age where parents know nothing? Or…could I truly be annoying? After thinking this through for a few days, I realized it was probably a mixture of the two.
You see, my worry lately has been teaching my kids discernment. I see how society, social media, tik tokers, you-tubers, and famous people influence my kid’s thoughts and beliefs. This concerns me more than I can convey because I want my children to learn to think for themselves and not just accept everything society says is “acceptable”. So…I spend a lot of time combatting the morals and values that are being taught to my children from society. The ironic thing is, that as I have been making sure my kids hear the opposite opinion or view, they think I am trying to tell them how to think or what to believe.
I realized I needed to lay off a bit—which is hard for me to do. I obviously love my children more than anything and want to do everything in my power to help them become the best human beings possible. I had to remind myself, that by now, my kids know our morals, beliefs, and values. We have spent years teaching them and modeling them. If I continue to push too much, it will only push them away, which is clearly not what I want.
While I was working through all of this in my head, I was reminded of the story in the bible where Jesus feeds the 5,000 or the story of the Loaves and Fishes. If you are not familiar with the story here is a basic synopsis. Jesus has been teaching for days to a large crowd of people. By the time He is done teaching, the people are all very hungry, and there is no possibility of finding enough food nearby to feed all of them. The disciples become very concerned and tell Jesus that all they have to share are 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Jesus directs them to bring what food they have to Him, He gives thanks to heaven and then multiplies the food. He then directs the disciples to disperse the food to everyone in the crowd. All of the people are fed and satisfied.
This story gave me peace because it reminded me that I am not parenting alone. I have given my children my “loaves and fishes”. They know the lessons I have taught them. Now, I can lay off a bit and pray for God to multiply those lessons in their lives. He loves them 1,000 times more than me so why wouldn’t He? My job as a parent is limited because I am human and only capable of just so much, but God—HE is capable of anything! We are so blessed to have Him to rely on. We are blessed to know that He is literally telling us, “You do your best as a parent and then count on Me to do the rest.” What a loving God we have who cares for us this much!
I hope this lesson I have learned recently helps you as well. Maybe you are struggling in an area of parenting in a way that is different than mine, but the lesson is still the same. Give your kids the best you have to offer. That is all you can do. Then take solace in knowing that God has your back. He knows you are only capable of so much. We are not parenting alone. Pray to Him to pick up your slack. Read this story in the bible as a way to remind yourself He is there walking this parenting path right alongside you. https://biblehub.com/context/matthew/14-13.htm. Give yourself grace and be happy to know that you are not expected to do it all. Only God can do that.