I was the mom with the schedule. Feeding schedule. Sleeping schedule. Reading and playtime schedule. I even had a written schedule on my refrigerator that I followed so I wouldn’t forget anything. I’m telling you, I was the schedule queen. (I’m shaking my head laughing just thinking about it.)
Why the scheduling? I simply wanted what was best for my kids. I wanted to make sure they got what they needed. Somehow I got it in my head that if I did everything perfectly things would be, well, perfect.
The perfect playgroup.
The perfect meal.
The perfect bath time.
The perfect toys.
The perfect preschool.
The perfect life.
We all know perfect is not possible.
No person . . .
No day. . .
No circumstance . . .
No life . . .
And yet we “good” parents try. I tried. (And then felt defeated when it wasn’t.)
At some point along the way, during those early preschool years, I began to see that no amount of micromanaging will ever prevent my children from disappointment and hurt.
We live in a fallen world.
Pain and disappointment are inevitable.
I came to the conclusion that rather than drive myself crazy trying to do the impossible, my time would be best spent training my children to trust God no matter what and how they can respond to pain and disappointment in ways that honor Him.
I began focusing more on the heart, not the circumstance.
Rather than write letters requesting certain teachers for my kids at their public school, we prayed that God would give them who He wanted and help them honor Him in that classroom. Yes, a few times we got “that” teacher, and looking back, I wouldn’t trade the spiritual growth in my kids for anything.
When my kids get their feelings hurt by a peer, I don’t call the other mom. I encourage my children to have the hard conversation so they can learn how to become peacemakers, forgive, and love like Jesus.
When my son didn’t make the basketball team in middle school I could have had “the talk” with the coach or complained to fellow parents, but instead I encouraged my son to trust God, be the best water boy he could be, and cheer for his friends. He did. And I guarantee I was the proudest mom in the stands.
Do you see where I’m going with this? When we focus on trying to control the circumstances in our kid’s life, all in the name of “wanting what’s best,” we put ourselves where only God should be—in control.
Without meaning to, we teach our kids to look to us rather than to God. We teach our children to depend on us to fix every thing, rather than trusting that God will allow, do, fix whatever is best.
We teach our children that nothing bad should ever happen to them. And if that’s not a set-up for disappointment down the road, I don’t know what is!
I can honestly say, after 18 years of parenting and three teenagers later, I experience more joy watching my children respond to trials with wisdom and faith than watching them live life trouble free.
So, keep the sleeping schedule, and make sure you provide lots of great books to read and healthy things to eat, but when it comes to circumstances that God allows in our lives—into your kid’s life—don’t ask, “How can I change what is happening?” Train yourself and your kids to ask, “How can I respond to this in a way that will make God smile?”
Nothing is more important than helping your children develop a faith of their own, for the day will come too soon when mom and dad can’t fix it.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28, NIV
A discussion about faith looks different at every phase. It can be talking with a preschooler about Jesus being God’s Son or with a middle-schooler who is having doubts for the first time. Download our free Faith Conversation Guide to help you have the most important talk you can have with your child.