"Parents, when your young child disobeys, what is your emotional response? Does a screaming fit in Walmart cause you embarrassment? Does the declaration 'You’re not my mommy any more' hurt your feelings? Does a refusal to come when called make you angry?
I want you to write this on a note card and put it on your fridge: 'It’s not personal.'"
Jen Wilkin wrote these words in a Crosswalk article entitled, “Your Child's Disobedience: It's Not Personal.”
Now it’s blogger Matt Walsh’s turn to remind non-parents of this same truth: all children sometimes throw fits and disobey, and that fact does not hinge on the adeptness of the parents.
In Walsh’s blog, he recounts the story of a brave mother whose child threw a tantrum in the grocery store in the midst of her shopping trip. While the woman made the hard choice to pass by the sugary cereal (the desire of the young boy’s heart), another young shopper nearby made a rude, profanity-laced remark to Walsh about how “some people” need to learn to control their children. Walsh then responded with a,
“Man, some people need to learn how to shut their mouths, watch their language, and mind their own business.”
Walsh’s post is a reminder to all of us, especially those of us who are childless, that parenting is the hardest job there is, but it’s cheap and easy to criticize someone when we’ve never walked in their shoes. Sure, sometimes your family thrives and your children act like perfect little angels. Then again, sometimes your parenting style can only be described as “survival mode.” Even though places like Crosswalk’s parenting channel have an abundance of resources for impacting your child’s heart, taming your child’s toys, and sound biblical advice for training up godly sons and daughters, the world is a confusing place for kids, and sometimes their reactions (and temper tantrums!) can be unpredictable and without easy solutions.
So the next time you see a child screaming over a box of Lucky Charms, or hear a baby crying during a church service, let grace overwhelm judgment in your heart. After all, either we’ve been there (older parents and grandparents), we’re there now (young parents), or we simply have no idea what it’s like (non-parents).
"Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you--who are you to judge your neighbor?" (James 4:11-12)
Debbie Holloway is the Family Life Editor for Crosswalk.com
Publication date: September 16, 2013