Friday, January 13, 2012

What is Love to My Children?

My twelve kiddos -- January 2011
As I'm pondering the nature of love--real love, not the Hollywoood version--on our approach to Valentine's Day, this quote caught my eye:
"Before we can effectively teach our children what Christ would teach, we have to teach them AS Christ would teach: gently, kindly, lovingly, patiently, persuasively, with long-suffering, not being easily provoked. We must literally be as Christ. When we teach that way, we are safe to be with. We are attractive to our children, and we attract them to us. Our words are believed, our actions emulated, and our values tend to become their values." Glenn Latham, Christlike Parenting, pg. 51.
Yikes! For me, these words stung. I realized that I tend to be a gentle, loving, long-suffering mom with some of my kids, but, sadly, not all of them--at least not enough of the time. I base my parenting all too much on my children's behavior. If a child is as obedient and mature as I would hope for his or her age, then that child gets the best out of me. But if not, then they're likely to get an exasperated, frustrated response when they do wrong. I'm all-too easily provoked.

Thanks to Dr. Latham's words, I see how my approach to parenting is terribly unlike my Savior's treatment of me. While I was yet His enemy, Christ suffered and die for me (Romans 5:8). He didn't wait for me to "get" what a sinner I was.

My kids need a Christlike mom who draws them lovingly into her Saviour's arms, not a mother who bases her patience and tenderness on their ability to measure up.

I have much to confess. I have much to pray about.

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