Growing up, I heard my mother say on numerous occasions, "I will never say that my children will never do something, because that is when they will do it and prove me wrong." Then she would go on and tell about our next door neighbor. She was a mother who ALWAYS took her son's side. In every fight. On every occasion. He. did. no. wrong. Even when he robbed a clothing store, put racks of stolen jeans in her garage, and got caught...it wasn't his fault, it was someone else's fault, he was just helping out a friend who needed some storage space. Even when he gave her a plant for Mother's Day, and told her it was called a Mary Jane plant, and that she didn't have to worry about it at all. He would water it and take care of it for her...(Yep...he was THAT bold, and she was THAT blind to his faults)...It was a marijuana plant. She was bragging about her wonderful son and his great Mother's Day gift, and when another neighbor pointed out what it was, she STILL took his side saying that he couldn't have POSSIBLY known that was what it was. Right. I don't guess by now that you would be shocked to find out that he ended up in prison.
The whole point my mother was trying to make was that she did her best to raise us. She took us to church, she taught us morals, and she loved us very much, but she knew we were not perfect. She knew that we were individuals and that we would make our own choices. And that sometimes, we would make the wrong choices. She knew that we were children, or young adults, and that our reasoning skills had not completely matured. She also made it a point to tell everyone, while we were within earshot, that if they EVER saw us doing anything wrong, to please feel free to discipline us, and then to come and let her know, so she could discipline us as well. And she meant it! She did not want to be blind to our wrong. She did not want to think we were perfect. She wanted to do her part to help us learn to be right.
I learned several valuable lessons through this. First, that I could not get away with anything. If I did something wrong, my momma was going to find out, and she was going to take care of it. After all everyone we knew was watching me. They would tell on me! I would be in serious trouble!
Second, I learned that my mother loved me very much. She didn't want me getting into trouble and ruining my life. She cared about me too much to take my side every time. She loved me enough to allow me to learn hard lessons sometimes, knowing that hard lessons often build strong character. The character that is never tried and strengthened, often fails when hard times come.
Third, I learned that there are consequences to my actions. If I followed the rules, and did what was right, all was well. If I chose to do things my way, despite the rules, I learned that I took the punishment for my actions, whatever they might have been. However bitter they were to swallow. I knew that I could not go home to her crying and she would instantly take my side. I also knew that if I was in the right, she would stand up for me. She was there for me either way...but she never tried to get me out of any punishment that I deserved.
Last, I learned that as a parent, I must pray daily that I am not blind to the wrongs that my children commit. I know that they are children, and that they are going to make mistakes. I would much rather them learn that there are consequences for their actions, so that they don't make the same mistakes, commit the same sins over again all the while thinking, "My momma took up for me last time, she will take up for me again!" I would rather them remember how much trouble they got into the first time, so when they are tempted to sin again, they realize "It's not worth the trouble I'll get in when I get caught!"
Two of my children have recently gotten into a little trouble at school. Both of them made bad decisions. Both of them were punished. And we as a family used both opportunities as learning situations. I can say with quite a bit of certainty (I will never say never) that neither of them will ever do what they did again. I'm also not going to say that they won't get into trouble of different natures. Because I know children. But if and when they do, they will again face the consequences of their actions. They will learn that we love them and stand beside them at all times. They will learn that they alone are responsible for their own actions. We will not make excuses for them. They will learn that in our family you are expected to own up to your mistakes and pay the price for them...They will also learn that life is SO much better and easier, if you just make wise choices.
We are certainly not perfect parents. We struggle each and every day with parenting issues. But we take God's Word seriously. And we take our jobs as parents seriously. I love my children very much. I want them to grow up to be responsible, godly adults with a character that stands out and shines for our Lord. I don't want to be a parent that is blind to my children's faults. I would much rather SEE their faults, so that I can help them to overcome and be better people for it. And I certainly DO NOT want to be visiting them in prison all the while proclaiming loudly that they are innocent (because I missed all the signs that God gave me along the way).
So please pray with me and for me that I will not be a blind parent. If you have children, know that I am praying for the readers of this blog to not be blind parents either. And, if you happen to know me and my children personally, and you EVER see any of them doing wrong, please feel free to let me know. I will not be mad at you in ANY way. I will THANK YOU for caring enough to help me help my children be more responsible and godly young people.