Thursday, May 30, 2013

How do you "Train" a Child?

My mommy triumphs have little to do with an A+ worksheet, phenomenal piano performance (hence my daughter's backwards curtsy afterwards), or whether or not my child read by her 4th birthday. My favorite moments, the ones where I feel hand picked by God, usually remain private memories, shared by one child and myself. Thinking back to my own childhood, the comfort of my mother is a tangible memory, literally felt across my body when brought to mind. It is irreplaceable, and while I may share a mother, or share family memories, it is the uniqueness of each of my middle of the night illnesses, slips into bed after a nightmare, and secret snacks after a bad day that create in my mind an image of who my mother is. 

Recently I went off of the grid for a few months. Partly by choice, part unintentional. I shut down social media, unplugged our cable, and accidentally broke my cell phone. The heart change that I experienced was astounding - shifting focus away from what could be presented unto what was real, concrete, and truly mattered to the lives of my precious children. 

Childhood only happens to each of us once - what will your children remember? 

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old, he will not depart from it"
-Proverbs 22:6 ASV

Reality for me used to look a little more like this:

"Present a clear and precise message of what type of mother you are, and once believed by all, focus on convincing your children"
Or better yet:

"Sign up to help with as many events/meals/ministries as possible, so that even if you aren't the best teacher, comforter, or train set builder, your children will remember you as a great person"

The Lord is revealing to me exactly what my role is as mother. He doesn't require "x" amount of hours spent planning meals, He doesn't expect me to magically develop a sense of train track building expertise, and He has no plans (that I am aware of) to give me the desire to iron our Sunday church wear. 

My son has been suffering nightmares for the last few weeks, something about a "scawy monkey" in our kitchen. Five nights in a row he calls for me, we head downstairs, see that there is in fact no monkey, and drink some chocolate milk and pray before we head back to bed. Sometimes my bed, sometimes his. Last night we went out of town for him to see a doctor about an upcoming surgery he is having, and the trip completely wore him out. He slept all night through, and I missed our little routine. Tonight, as midnight approached and I was getting ready for bed, I heard the "mama, mama, need hug" coming from upstairs. You don't have to ask me twice when you're that cute! I grabbed him and carried my groggy boy downstairs, poured him a glass of chocolate milk, and realized that we were standing in the kitchen in the dark, and he was not concerned. In fact, there was no mention of said monkey for quite some time. 

My little man just wanted me, or chocolate milk, or both. Probably the chocolate milk. But he squeezed in some snuggles and kisses while he could, and I realized that despite the laundry pile we were sitting next to, or the dinner dishes that were still on the table, my boy saw me as the one God made for him. 

So back to Proverbs, what is it that we want to get across when we "train" our children? I hope that I have many more nights like these. That my children remember my grace, love, forgiveness, and dedication to them. I hope they remember a patient smile when I walk in to change bed sheets in the middle of the night, or think of the times that I cried with them when they were heartbroken. I want them to hear my voice singing to them when they're losing their temper as teenagers, or to see my confidence in them when they're doubting themselves. I want to be a reflection of the Lord in their lives, and I want them to know how much He loves them because I want them to know what love really feels like. 

When I think down to the knitty-gritty of motherhood, I realize that what truly matters is sometimes only seen by those whom it truly matters to.


  1. I absolutely loved this Abby!! Printing it and putting it on my wall :o)