Thursday, October 2, 2008

Parenting By The Golden Rule


I have been slowly reading Gary Chapman's book "Love As A Way Of Life" and he gives seven character traits/actions of loving people...

kindness
patience
forgiveness
courtesy
humility
generosity
honesty

Then this morning as I was reading Colossians, these words in Chapter 3 really jumped out at me:

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

As I have been thinking about so many ideas that I hear about "Biblical Parenting" and "training Godly children", I am always rubbed and chafed and saddened by much of what I hear. So much of these "Godly principles" sound incredibly angry and harsh and controlling. Not much grace, not much compassion, not much of anything resembling that verse in Colossians. And if that's the way that God is and wants me to be, then I find myself running in the opposite direction (or succumbing out of deep fear!)

I have had a real sense of the Lord's discipline in my life the last few years...His allowing consequences in my life for choices that I made that did not honor Him or others. But His kindness is what continually leads me to repentance...and His gentleness and guidance along the painful path was sure and absolute. I have felt deeply loved and cared for and tended to by Jesus the last few years and yet I know that He has been a faithful parent to allow the pain so that I won't make these choices again.

I have been thankful to have been exposed to gentle mothers along the parenting path and great books that have shown me and challenged me to respect my children on the path of discipline and treat them the way that I want to be treated. No verse helps me more in parenting than the Golden Rule. And my kids hear me ask them daily how we are to treat others (namely their siblings!)...their response? "The way that I want to be treated."

I am far from being this kind of mom. I pray all throughout the day for a greater understanding of how God parents me so that I will be that kind of mother to my kids. And the more I get to know Him, the more I see that He is all of those beautiful Colossians traits in abundance when it comes to parenting me. As I sense His love and grace and patience in deeper ways, the more that love, grace, and patience bubbles over to my children without my even "trying".

My heart is to treat my children the way that I want to be treated by the Lord and others. My heart is to treat my children like I would my dearest friends. Not to excuse fleshly tendencies and selfish ways, but to recognize their youth and immaturity and see that of anyone children need more understanding and compassion and grace as they learn what it means to love God and love others. Gentle teaching, firm boundaries, inspiring stories, and compassionate course-correction will go far to secure trusting relationships with our young ones...and then the prayer is for the Grace of that trusting relationship to transfer to their relationship with their Heavenly Father as they move into adulthood.

I don't have a lot of parenting answers or very helpful how-to's. But I do know the kind of mother I want to be. One who loves my children as a way of life and gives my children a glimpse of the kind of magnificient, lavish-loving Father that He is.


photo by janoid


10 comments:

Prairie Chick said...

>>My heart is to treat my children like I would my dearest friends. Not to excuse fleshly tendencies and selfish ways, but to recognize their youth and immaturity and see that of anyone children need more understanding and compassion and grace as they learn what it means to love God and love others. Gentle teaching, firm boundaries, inspiring stories, and compassionate course-correction will go far to secure trusting relationships with our young ones...and then the prayer is for the Grace of that trusting relationship to transfer to their relationship with their Heavenly Father as they move into adulthood.<<

Beautiful. You challenge me on so many levels. I value your insight. I think we live in difficult times (as has everyone who has gone before). Finding balance when different messages are being screamed from all sides of the playing field requires true presence of mind and devotion of spirit.

grace said...

gentle christian mothers is one of my favorite sites. I'm so happy to be in a time with the internet...the support is priceless! I don't know that I could stand so strongly if I didn't have communities like gentle mothers.

Melissa said...

Hi! You have been tagged! please visit www.oursuburbanhomestead.blogspot.com for your meme instructions. I hope you don't mind, but I don't talk to many people online and I find your blog wonderful and inspiring. It seems that we have many things in common, at least as far as one can tell via the internet!

Tabitha said...

I really appreciated this post (and many others!) as I am just beginning in mothering and I am tending to want to be ... perfect ... in my eyes, in the eyes of my son, in the eyes of the christian community, in the eyes of the world and in the eyes of the Lord. Thank you for your thoughtful words and willingness to take the time to write and share them. I am drawn back to the Lord's love for me and His gentle parenting as I read and remember ... I am His and everything I hold He has given and upholds in my life. Thanks, Aimee.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post, I totally agree! And I love Colossians. Have you ever done Beth Moore's Paul study? It is fantastic.

The Mangerchine's said...

Awesome post! Thank you for your insight and vulnerability! I'm not a mom yet, but often think about what type of mother I want to be... this was great!

Shannon

{ Kiddos & K9s } said...

amen sister... this is truly some heart felt vulnerability I appreciate so much. So nice to know there are others out there who want so much for their children yet don't have it all perfect and figured out. Very encourageing... very inspiring. Thank you...

Aimee said...

Thanks to all of you for your heartfelt comments as we navigate the parenting road together.

And Melissa, I'll try to get to that "tag" soon! :)

Clair said...

I am going to have to request that book from the library.

Lori said...

lovely post