3. Consider What Needs to Change
“Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” —Albert Einstein
In each season of our parenting, we run into new and sometimes unexpected challenges.
Recently, in our home we’ve begun encountering behaviors in our children that have left my husband and me perplexed. The almost never-ending backtalk, the strong aversions to eating what has been prepared for dinner, the sibling rivalries instead of sweet cooperation has created stress and discourse in our family life.
While I’d love to believe that I’m the only parent who has experienced these griefs, I am all too aware that I am not. I haven’t met a mom or dad yet who hasn’t encountered the frustrations of parenting on some level or another.
When left unchecked or unchanged, these frustrations can lead us down a spiral; eventually, we find ourselves hanging at the end of that proverbial rope.
Without stopping and making a cognizant choice to change the narrative, we are (perhaps inadvertently) stepping into Einstein’s definition of insanity. When we are at the end of our ropes, we have to make a change.
In early parenting, we might be at the end of our ropes due to sleep deprivation.
We cannot function long term without sleep. Our bodies will physically give out. If you’re a new parent or a parent of a newborn, you’ve got to make a plan with your spouse and those in your circle to get some rest.
One solution might be a friend coming over during naptime to allow you to rest. Another option could be to hire a doula for a short period of time to help you work towards physical restoration.
If you’re in those preschool years and staying at home with your children you know how difficult it is to get out to run even the simplest of errands.
I remember that stage in my own parenting like it was yesterday. I recall both of my children melting down in the post office while I ran in to mail a package. We all left the post office in tears.
We expect our children to behave in public, but also that trip to the could have been done while our kids played at the neighbor's house. I could have made a better plan and avoided crying in my car mere minutes later out of sheer frustration. I needed to make a change and pick my battles.
As our children continue in their development we’re going to have to make adjustments and changes in the way that we parent. What worked while they were little may not work as they grow. We need to parent with both eyes open and with a level of flexibility.
Through parenting, we are going to experience the tender beauty of raising these little gifts, and likewise we’ll experience deep difficulties and frustrations.
We must understand that ultimately we, as Christian parents, are raising our children unto the glory of God.
There is no such thing as a perfect parent this side of eternity, and yet we have an opportunity to raise up the next generation of leaders, teachers, missionaries and ministers.
If we’re merely surviving each day at the end of our rope we’re modeling a lifestyle of sheer survival for our children. We aren’t meant to simply survive but instead are called to a life abundant in Christ.
Let’s take one step forward today, no matter how small it might be, towards that full life.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” —John 10:10
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