My Parenting Fail: A Lesson is Perseverance From My Son
Do you ever feel like you’ve completely blown it with your kids? You might have woken up with the attitude and intent on handling everything in a mild, patient and gentle manner that day but then your kids wake up and real life starts happening all around you! Your positive parenting attitude of commitment to act righteously crumbles right in front of your eyes. Have you ever encountered this?
I have experienced this. I failed royally the other day! My deficient parenting taught me a valuable lesson about perseverance that I wanted to share with you.
My Parenting Fail
I gifted my 4-year-old a kite in his Easter basket since he had been showing interest in them. During a particularly windy day, we decided to go to the local park and try our hand at flying it. After putting it together in accordance with the directions, I gave it to my son to fly. He’d never flown a kite before. All I told him to do was to run as fast as he could with the kite trailing behind him. I expected the kite would rise gloriously in the sky and create a picture perfect scene for him and I.
Needless to say, the scene was far from the perfect one I had in my head. In the beginning, the kite never got off the ground even though my little guy was trying his hardest running up and down hills and all around the park. I started pitying myself and my boy because he wasn’t able to watch and feel the kite float high in the sky. In my frustration, my tone changed, my body language changed and I was ready to give-up and ruin the whole occasion. Great example, right!
It was at that moment my sweet little young man said to me, ” Mommy, you just need perseverance.” Oh, the conviction I felt in my heart. He was absolutely right! I did need perseverance. The thought occurred to me that maybe we needed to take a look at how we assembled the kite. Maybe we needed to look back at the instructions because it wasn’t working correctly. Maybe we needed to do something differently and persevere through it!
At this point in our experience, I could’ve chosen two contrasting views of the situation.
- Number One: I am a failure (in which pitying and wallowing would continue.)
- Number Two: I failed this time (whereby I would pick myself up and persevere like my son told me to do) so he could have an amazing first experience with is new kite.
Within Failure, We Have Four Choices
Of course, this is somewhat of a silly example in light of serious failures that happen in our lives but I’d like to submit to you that the principle will be the same in a silly situation or a serious one.
We need to look at the incident as an isolated failure and not define ourselves as a failure. As we analyze the isolated incident, we need to remember the following four points.
Don’t Give Up
As my son reminded me that I needed perseverance, you may too! Life is challenging, especially with kids. I venture to claim that every day we will have an opportunity to display perseverance.
If you homeschool, you know perseverance is required in teaching difficult students or slow learners or getting through February! If you work outside the home you may have a boss that is rude and temperamental but you have to go to work and persevere anyway. You may be struggling with a chronic illness that makes raising and parenting your children feel like an insurmountable task. Resolving to stay the course and never give up will reap many blessings for you individually and in your children when they see your example.
When our kite flying mission was failing, I certainly did my fair share of wallowing. It sounds so ridiculous now because in the big picture whether we succeeded flying the kite that day doesn’t matter. What matters more is the example I set for my son.
If we get stuck in the land of self-pity and that’s the example we share with our kids, how can we expect them to be any different? When they don’t do well on a test, should they wallow? When they don’t get the job they applied for do you want them to remain stagnant and not try again to apply for something else? Satan wants you to be surrounded by self-pity and your children too! When you are in this bad place, you’re ineffective for God’s kingdom. Picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off and trying again with rejoicing and hope is the best example of perseverance!
When we visited the park that day to fly the kite, my expectation was that my son would be able to get his new kite in the air in the first minutes of trying after putting it together. I had visions of him running around gleefully with a huge smile plastered across his face. Alternatively, I should have been flexible, knowing that whether we were able to fly the kite immediately or whether we had problems that, God’s perfect will was happening. Again, flying a kite is trivial in comparison to bigger things like jobs, marriage, finances, etc., but when we have expectations it damages our capability to let God work and to see God’s handiwork.
We did end up getting that kite flying beautifully in the sky that day. It just wasn’t as I had pictured the whole situation happening. That’s the best part! I learned a valuable lesson because it worked out God’s way and not mine.
Don’t Give Vent To Your Anger
In a state of giving up, wallowing and keeping expectations, it can be the perfect storm for getting downright angry. Kite flying is not an angry sport! However, failing at something can be upsetting. In that incident, my anger stemmed from not getting what I wanted. Our children often don’t get what they want. When that happens, should they throw in the towel, pity themselves and throw a tantrum? As parents, we would expect they would do none of the above and instead, persevere and be calm and show self-control. Giving full vent to our anger makes us look like fools and does not teach our children self-control. Whether it’s a small trial or problem or a really trying circumstance, exhibiting calmness and gentleness is vital for parents and kids alike. We need to surrender our anger to the Lord!
Take a step back or get out of the situation until you can calm down. Focus on something else for some time. Pray silently and ask God to help you calm down and ask Him to come to your aid in showing perseverance and remaining calm and gentle. He wants you to lean on Him and He wants you to teach your children to lean on Him and have self-control and abandon their anger.
Failing In Your Parenting Can Result In Learning Valuable Lessons
Keep your chin up, my friend. We all fail at times in parenting and in life but it’s ok! Those failures are the richest times for learning from our mistakes and purposing to do better by God’s strength the next time.