Go ahead and finish that for me...
...And Not As I Do."
Said the mom disciplining her son for hitting his sister while gritting her teeth and squeezing his trapezius within an inch of its life.
How many times have I swatted an arm while simultaneously saying "Jesus tells us to be kind!"
Holy double standard.
Too many times talking to my kids after they have done something wrong has turned into an exercise in self-evaluation and a look full-on into the mirror at my own hypocrisy.
Me: R, look at James 1:18-21. It says here that we should be QUICK to listen, SLOW to speak and SLOW to become angry. God doesn't want us acting out in anger and being mean to people. So...how do you think that makes God feel when you hit your brother or sister?
R (8 years old): Bad. He doesn't want me to. I should be kind.
M: That's right. It's OK to be angry, but it's how we act when we're angry that gets us in trouble sometimes.
R: Like when you throw things or yell at daddy or say swears?
*Huge, heavy blanket of shame envelopes me. *
M: Um...yes. Just like that.
And ONCE AGAIN-- lest I get all big-headed and prideful while learnin' my kids in the way of the Lord-- instead of me passing on my worldly wisdom to prune and mold my son, God is pruning and molding me. Although, I find God tends to be MUCH kinder and gentler in His delivery than I am.
He often leads me to the Truth and gives me JUST enough rope to 1) swing across the chasm from disobedience to obedience or 2) hang myself.
In the meantime, I tend to hand my kids a rope while wrapping it around their neck, driving home their sin and wielding punishment with a harsh tone all in one fell swoop.
I'm so thankful I am not the Great Almighty. The Great I Am. The Beginning and the End. Alpha and Omega.
Because frankly I suck.
I would be more like the Great Al-sucky. The Great I Ain't. The End and the End.
And this being a mom business is tough.
I don't know how God manages to both LOVE us immeasurably and discipline us fairly and justly--all while being gentle.
I walk a fine line most days between loving my kids immeasurably and wanting to send them to the moon. And I'm afraid my facial expression and my tone belie that. (Not to mention my heavy sighs, screams of frustration, and stomping feet.)
So how do I get to that place of living what I teach my kids?
I don't have it nailed down, but I have an idea. First it starts with reading the very things I tell them to read. And then making a conscious decision to take one moment at a time as far as making wise decisions.
It sounds easy enough, right?
For example. Nothing sends me into a blind rage like making lunch, asking who wants seconds and then having someone tell me EXACTLY 30 seconds AFTER I clean up and put everything away that they want more. Okay, that's a bold-faced lie. MANY things send me into a blind rage, but this scenario holds a special place in my heart.
So, I thought to myself, "Hey, Einstein, how about you LEAVE EVERYTHING OUT until after the kids leave the room and go back to whatever they were doing before the meal?"
And not exactly rocket science.
So, it's the little things, That actually add up to big things.
I may not be Mother of the Year for thinking through my actions moment by moment, but my kids' trapezius's will certainly thank me.