Monday, 24 September 2012

Raising "good" kids...

On Saturday morning, Dave and I handed Ava over to her grandparents and headed up to church for the yearly "Parenting Seminar". This was only our second one, due to it being yearly, and Ava being only just over a year old, and it was amazing to think how much has changed since we rocked up with our 4 week old baby last time!

Last year we sat and listened and gleaned and soaked - information that was SO VERY helpful, and yet seemed so far from where we were at, with this perfect little bundle who was so needy and helpless. The thought of her ever being disobedient, of us ever needing to think through how we discipline her, or spend "quality" time with her, or draw out her thoughts and feelings on life. All of that was so alien. Now, its a little bit closer to home!

We were led, really helpfully, by our Youth and Families Pastor, Gareth, through a book called "Giving them grace" which is, in its own words, all about "dazzling your kids with the love of Jesus". I felt challenged, convicted, inspired and excited about my role as Mum at the end. There was one quote that I found really helpful as I thought about what it means to raise "good kids", something which I think all of us parents out there are so eager to do...

“Raising good kids is utterly impossible unless they are drawn by the Holy Spirit to put their faith in the goodness of another. You cannot raise good kids, because you’re not a good parent. There is only one good parent, and he had one good Son…Give this grace to your children: tell them who they really are, tell them what they need to do, and tell them to taste and see that the Lord is good. Give this grace to yourself too.” (Give them Grace, p50)

It was so refreshing to be reminded that I don't need to be the perfect Mama. Of course, I strive to be the best Mama I can... but I will fail. Guaranteed. I will hurt Ava. She will hurt me. We are both sinners. But, thanks be to God, I am a sinner saved by a great Saviour and my prayer is that Ava will trust this Saviour too. What freedom there is in being a follower of Jesus! I don't need to kill myself over this parenting thing... I don't need to bear the burden of being "responsible" for how my kids turn out. Don't hear me wrong... God has given me great responsibility as their mother, but at the end of the day, only God's Spirit will make them really "good" on the inside. That's something I can't do.

We left the seminar feeling so encouraged, and daunted, by the responsibility we do have... but God is good, and I'm praying that he will give us the strength, patience and wisdom to dazzle our kids with the love of Jesus by giving them grace upon grace upon grace. And if you missed it? You missed out... make sure you're there next year! It was such a great morning to be encouraged and thrash stuff out with other parents on the "battlefield" of kid-raising!

My hubby, who blogs about once a year, has put his thoughts on his blog too... defo worth a read!

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