Article By Dianna Hobbs:: EEW Magazine Parenting
From the very first day my husband Kenya and I brought our firstborn home 16 years ago, we knew an awesome responsibility was swaddled in that pink fleece blanket.
Though I was wholly inexperienced and uncertain of how we would raise this beautiful baby girl into a God-fearing woman, there is one thing I knew immediately: she did not belong to us.
Of course, Kenya’s seed produced her. I was the one who carried her in my womb for nine months and suffered through 24 hours of labor to bring her into the world. But I was fully aware that Kyla belonged to God.
My husband and I were simply chosen to be stewards of this precious gift and raise her in the fear, and admonition of the Lord.
That is what we believe about all four of our children: they are the Lord’s.
This understanding impacts the way we treat them every day.
By loving, nurturing and teaching the Hobbs clan the life lessons they will need to thrive, we are honoring God with the seed He entrusted to us.
While I do not pretend to know it all, because I am continually growing daily by God’s grace, here 10 things of which I am sure, that I think every mom needs to know.
1. Mothers Are Not Perfect
No one gets it right all the time, so give yourself a little grace. Every failure is really a learning opportunity. Grow from your mistakes and do better going forward.
2. You Are Enough
Gifts, gadgets and gizmos can never replace love, time, patience and understanding. Your children want you. Whether you are a person of great or meager means, your children benefit most from your compassion, focused attention and willingness to be patient with them as they learn. The impact of the things money can buy is limited; the benefit of what money cannot buy is limitless.
3. Your Children Are Imperfect, Just Like You
No matter how much you teach, invest and pray for them, children make mistakes. They disobey. They learn some things the hard way—and that’s okay, because so did you. Your job is not to control them, but to point them to Jesus Christ, so they can develop a love walk with Him and become Holy Spirit-controlled. That is the key to a fruitful and abundant life anyway.
4. Children Model What They See
Be what you want your children to imitate and emulate. You are your children’s greatest teacher. Let them see you praying, studying the word of God, being faithful to the Lord, helping others, and living out the Word. Instead of expending all your energy verbally expressing what is right (which is also important), make sure your behavior falls in line with the virtues, principles and attitudes you want your children to develop. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words.
5. Admitting When You Are Wrong Strengthens Your Relationship
Millions of relationships die or end up strained because of someone’s failure to say two words and genuinely mean them: I’m sorry. Pretending to be all-knowing and error-free serves no one and creates feelings of resentment. When you make a mistake, be quick to admit it and apologize. Admitting shortcomings serves two purposes: it reinforces the important truth that no one gets it right 100% of the time. It also shows your children you care when you have hurt them enough to say you’re sorry.
6. “Because I Said So” Is Sometimes the Right Answer—But Not Always
Authoritarian parenting—strict rules, tough punishments and limited or no affection—is harmful. If you grew up in a household where parents were the final authority, no questions asked, it’s easy to imitate that in your household. But allowing your children to ask questions and doing your best to answer them practically, will improve your relationship. Their natural curiosity must not be confused with disrespect. There are moments when a simple explanation can help communicate your intentions and prevent misunderstanding. On the other hand, there are also times when “Because I said so” is completely appropriate. Work to find the proper balance and know that explaining why, when the situation calls for it, can be a good and healthy thing.
7. Listen, A lot
Everyone wants to be heard. Your children are no different. They desire to know that what they say matters to you. By being a good listener, your children (of any age) will more freely communicate with you and share what’s in their heart, and mind. This is a critical part of being able to offer appropriate guidance and a shoulder for them to lean on when they need one. Since effective communication is the foundation of every great relationship, do all you can to strengthen your listening skills. This will make them feel most comfortable and help them open up.
8. Don’t Play Favorites
I have a theory: all four of the Hobbs children are very different, but equally amazing. Realize that God made your children unique and you should appreciate the distinct qualities of your offspring. Their looks, personality, sense of humor and all their quirks, are what make them uniquely who they are. When you admire and embrace them, without showing preference to anyone over them (siblings or otherwise), they will learn to admire and embrace themselves, leading to healthy self-esteem.
9. You Are At Your Best When You’re Spiritually Healthy
You cannot continually give out without pouring anything back in. The best you is one who is spiritually nourished through time spent in God’s word and His presence. Get your private time in! Being selfless in your giving is possible only to a degree. Everyone has to be selfish occasionally, which is not a bad thing. Feed yourself spiritually with some one-on-one time with God. Furthermore, pamper yourself naturally with some set-aside “me-time.” Like an overdrawn bank account from which the owner constantly makes withdrawals and no deposits, after a while, there will be nothing left.
10. Trust God With Your Children
Incessant worry results from lack of trust. You will fret over the well-being of your children less, when you place your confidence in God more. While God uses your hands to care for your children, you must never forget their ultimate future and destiny is in His hands. As you love them and do what you believe is best for them, have faith in God’s sovereignty and wisdom to do what He knows is best for them. Unlike us, He never makes mistakes!