I have come to one very big parenting conclusion: Pride does not mix with parenting. Parenting is one of the most humbling (and sometimes humiliating) jobs. Want to get rid of your pride? Have a kid. And I am sure that a large part of this is God-designed.
The other day when one of my children didn’t follow our “in store” rules, I put back the long awaited kickstand for the bicycle. I knew at the moment that drama would follow. But I had laid out the rule and the consequence . . . and disobedience still followed. So at least I didn’t feel like a horrible parent when the wailing began and all the eyes started darting my way. If nothing else, I was teaching my kid a valuable lesson.
But I have not always been in this particular position of teaching. There have surely been times when my child acted out or did something ridiculous in front of other people and I just wanted to hide and get to my car as fast as I could . . . embarrassed and stripped of my pride. How about you?
I was talking with another mom about this very subject and she shared this story. While it is funny now, I’m sure it wasn’t way back when.
It was the finale of VBS week at their friend’s church. All the parents had gathered to watch their little “prides and joys” perform the VBS songs. The children stood up front and did the fun little motions. They smiled and bopped around while they sang. But not my friend’s son who was nearly four years old at the time. Unlike the other happy children up front, he stood there with an angry face, throwing air punches in her general direction. What did she do? The only she could do.
. . . Pretend he wasn’t her kid.
And then when the program was over, she rushed him out of the building. Yep, parenting strips you of pride.
I know the feelings. Embarrassment. Humiliation. I know the questions. What is wrong with him? Why did she act like that? But the real kicker . . . Am I a good parent?
And the answer is yes. We all have issues or concerns for our kids. After all, they are imperfect beings walking around in child-size bodies. And quite frankly, we can’t worry what other people think of our parenting.
It comes down to the audience of One. How are we parenting in God’s eyes?
Am I doing the best I can? Am I utilizing tools that God has given me? Am I modeling the way He parents? Am I patient, kind and loving? Do I discipline and train my children in the way they should go? Do I teach my children right from wrong?
When the humiliating moments come (and they most surely will), I need to focus not on the watching eyes but on the little heart and mind needing direction, guidance and discipline. If I worry what others think, I will become focused on the band-aids of the moment and not the healing, lasting change.
Here are two verses to hang on to:
“He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.” Psalm 25:9
“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” 1 Peter 5:5-6
No, parenting and pride don’t mix. These kind of embarrassing moments happen to all of us. So what can we do? We can lift one another up or tear each other down. We can judge or extend arms of mercy and encouragement. We can humble ourselves before God and learn from His way.
I vote for humility. Because otherwise, I will be running to my car an awful lot.
Have you experienced any humiliating moments of parenting lately?