Can I be mama-level honest for a moment?
With a pre-teen and a teen boy living under our roof, consuming more and more food, our days with them are passing lightning-strike fast. Soon, one will be in high school. Just after that, we will celebrate a couple of graduations, and our boy-men will launch into the world.
Hubby and I have worked to instill godly values into them. We strive to live out our faith and share with them the things Jesus is teaching us.
We’re intentional about how we instruct them in life skills.
We’ve given them opportunities to try things they’re interested in. Sacrificed hours to drive them to football practice, Boy Scout meetings, games, Courts of Honor. We purpose to make memories as a family.
And yet, I fear I’m falling short somehow.
I see the childishness they both live out so frequently. I wonder if we should be doing more to train them up to live as productive adults.
We’ve made decisions regarding screen time, and when they can have electronic devices. We know our sons and those things that will lure them into unhealthy lifestyles and choices. We’re trying to protect and prepare them for all the distractions our world offers.
We’re doing what we know to encourage our boys to have a heart that chases after Jesus.
And yet . . .
I’m not seeing the fruit in their lives.
A wise woman once reminded me that . . .
when we see our kids exhibit attitudes, behaviors . . .
when they make choices that don’t line up with adulthood . . .
that our boys are still in training.
When one of our boys smarts off, I remind my husband—and he reminds me—they’re still in training.
We only have a few short years left to train them. A few brief sets of months when they will live under our roof. Only a certain number of days when they will be influenced by our guidance.
How many times have I lost my patience? How many times have I placed my priorities above their heart needs in the moment?
More times than I care to count.
In the busy-ness of keeping our family running, of getting the kids where they need to be when they need to be there, I forget to speak words of life.
I forget to simply engage with them. Even if only through a hug or a squeeze of a hand.
I need to be intentional about being in the now, speaking words of life to them.
When one of them lives out what we’ve tried to instill, I need to acknowledge it. I need to be purposeful in encouraging them.
For as macho and independent as they sometimes act, they’re still just thirteen and twelve. They are still a little more boy than man. And they need those words of affirmation.
Yes, they still require guidance and some instruction. But even more than that our boys need to know they are seen. Not just for what they do, but for who they are.
God has created them with such amazing hearts. I need to not become discouraged when they make poor choices.
After all, they’re still in training.
Most importantly, I need to remember that these two precious boys belong to God first and foremost. They are His gift to Hubby and me. They are our heritage, given to us for a little while.
We need to do our best to raise them well, but ultimately, it’s God who knows their hearts and their needs. He knows the plans He has for them. And God’s good enough to fill in the gaps that show up in our parenting.
I have a hard time letting go of the burden of responsibility. But, God wants me to delight in these two gifts He’s given us.
I’m responsible to be a godly example, but He’s the only perfect parent. I’m slowly learning to let go of my craving for perfection and lean into the beauty of God’s grace in raising our boys.
What about you? In what areas of your life have you learned to let go of the need for perfection and learned to embrace God’s grace in the process? For those who are parents, what’s one word of encouragement you can share with other parents?