Its funny how you think you’re the best parent ever when you don’t have children yet. You play the whole, “When I have kids I will never do that!” or even better, “My kid will never act, do, say that!” I did this all the time. Momfession: I have done many of those things, and my kid has probably acted that way, done that, and said that too.
My children were never going to look like ragamuffins. Corban (child of a youth pastor, mind you) has gone to church with bed head and jelly on his face.
I was never going to speak in anger towards (lets be real, or yell at) my children. Never. It doesn’t happen often, but it has happened. I make sure to apologize and ask forgiveness when it does happen. It’s a humbling thing when your two your old says, “Dont talk to me that way!” – and he’s right. We pray a lot during those moments.
My children were never going to throw a fit over a toy in the store. It’s simple psychology. Never buy a toy for your kid when he’s present and he won’t ever expect to get a toy while at the store. Extinction before there’s even a conditioned response. Apparently two year olds don’t take behavioral psychology.
My child was never going to steal another child’s toy. If you want a good argument for original sin, watch a couple of toddlers in a sandbox with only one shovel.
What’s interesting to me about all of these things (and I’m sure there are more) is that they are all behavior and image related. I wanted (wanted, ha, still want) to be a perfect parent with a perfect child. Pleasant, smiling, intelligent, well coifed little robots. I was, and often am, after the wrong thing.
I’m learning how to pray for my children from David. The David from the Bible. The man after God’s heart that had an affair with another man’s wife, lied about it, then killed him to keep it under wraps. That David. No, I don’t want my kids to do these things, but yes, they will make mistakes. They need room to make mistakes. And they need to learn from and live alongside their mom and dad the kind of discipline, grace, and dependence on Jesus that will guide their hearts to change – like David. Hearts that run after God’s heart, that’s what I will pray over my children.