(Editors note – I was hesitant to share this as it is intensely personal. Recently I have become more aware that I am not the only parent who under attack. One mum, in frustration, shared with me this – “I had to bite my tongue and walk away, I cried for days feeling like I had failed at the only job I thought I was good at – being a mum!!”. I hope that you will hear my intent of this message – Take a moment before you speak and think about what you are saying, your words may not be as wise as you think. Bless you. )
Recently I have been made aware, quite painfully aware, of people critiquing my parenting abilities.. Or apparently lack of parental skills. Yay me!!
It seems that there is the presumption that I too should be perfect, as I am under the spotlight too.I am not perfect. Never have been, and never will be while I am on this earth. I live with the desire to be better in every way. I live to grow and be challenged to be better than what I am. But perfect? Really?
Now…. You just picked on my child. Have you no idea that inside of this imperfect body lives a mother bear that would really like to verbally rip you up one side and down the other? What is also inside, is a mother’s heart with the desire to see her children come to their full potential as men.
While my children, at this time, are still somewhat very young men. They are not too young to complain at the lack of justice in this world, how they feel being picked on and wonder how they are going to change another’s point of view.
While I, their mother, attempt to teach them never to do the same as you have just done – that is, to never waste their time on life sucking pursuits as being critical and condemning.
• I have taught them to be wise in seeking out the right fights; that is the fight to live and the fight to protect the weak.
• I have taught them to look at the strengths and needs of those that are in their care.
• I have taught them respect and manners so that they will treat others well.
• I have taught them to look after the elderly, as I need them one day to look after me.
So, they are soft, are they? Soft, compared to what? What makes a man hard, is what makes a man lack wisdom, discernment and trust, and to cripple him from having any sense of the desire to protect those in his care. Since when is the hardness of character and heart a virtue?
• I have taught them to have patience with others.
• I have taught them not to turn away from something or someone who is distressed.
• I have taught them not fear feelings and emotions, but to learn to use them wisely.
So they are too rebellious, are they? Mmm… do I not deal with this effectively while allowing them to have the ability to learn to make the right decisions with their own brain?
• I have taught them to think for themselves.
• I have taught them to steer away from the pressure of the crowd.
• I have taught them the importance of learning.
• I have taught them to be wise with their words.
So, they are too noisy, too lazy, and too messy?
• I have taught them to be active in sports of their choice and remain committed to that sport to the end of a season.
• I have taught them to enjoy the outdoors and sunshine.
• I have taught them to keep their rooms tidy and clean. (This is what they do)
• I have taught them to use the vacuum cleaner, dishwasher, washing machine and stove.
• I have taught them to chop wood for the fire, check the oil on the engine, change a tyre, and look after what they have been given.
• I have taught them to cook me breakfast in bed on Mother’s day in the hope that they will one day do that for their wife.
“They are too rough.” “They don’t keep still for too long.” “Don’t fuss over them.” Really?
They were born male. They grew from babyhood to boyhood, I am now raising men.You will see cuts, bumps and bruises. They are testing boundaries, loving challenges, and scaring their mother. You will find me at the doctors and at the emergency room as often as they test their own abilities to stay alive. You will find in my house and in my car, a LARGE medicine bag with all the necessary bandaging and creams for active boys. I even have a smaller one in my purse, just in case.
When I hear you criticize the need for the large bandage that covers a healing knee, or poke fun at the sports strapping on their growing body… or when you suggest that their asthma medication is not necessary, then you are not thinking clearly. Then there is the criticism for the painkiller I keep in my purse for sudden migraine headaches.
• I am teaching them that is okay to take care of themselves.
• I am teaching them to think carefully about medical advice from someone who has no medical degree.
• I am teaching them to not ignore pain, or illness or frailty.
When I teach them these things I hope that they will survive their own care later in life.
• I am teaching them shortness of breath means that their life may depend upon having the right medication with them and that they needed to think ahead and be prepared.
• I am teaching them that it is wise to keep small amounts of first aid supplies on them.
• I am teaching them that infection is not to be taken lightly.
• I am teaching them that pain is the body’s way of saying “stop and think”.
• I am teaching them that everyone has faults, failing, and weaknesses – and that is perfectly ok.
Oh.. and by the way.. I am also teaching them that they are allowed to cry if they are in pain. Is that okay by you?
When you judge someone by what you think, you are not caring about that person, only of your own opinions and beliefs. You are also showing me that I would not put those that I love in your care, as those who I love are very precious to me indeed.
My sons believe that I am a good mum.
They love me. They know that I love them.
They are grateful for most of what I do for them.
They love the food I give them (except when I make them eat their greens)
They often tell me not to defend them as that is embarrassing.
They tell me not to fuss, but love the fact that I do.
They also know that they are safe with me when they are in a bad mood, or not having a good day, or when they need to let off steam. I am their safe place. There is one thing that I forget to add to all this – they are being taught by an imperfect mother.
Yes, I am imperfect.
I too am soft, rebellious, messy, emotional and thoughtless. Every day I seek God for the wisdom to behave and parent better. I am grateful for the changes in me. I am grateful that every day that God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, convicts me and challenges me to be the person I can be – then I will become less perfect because I become less and He becomes more. All the while, I am becoming less messy, soft in the right ways, less over-emotional, more obedient, and more able to be corrected. And before I die I might actually become perfect – actually there is not a chance of that!!
Yes, I am imperfect.
I too am frail, prone to injuries and illnesses. They get their asthma and migraines from me. I pray for them and me. I pray for good health and strong bodies. I have many times while waiting for pain or suffering to pass I am praying for them. Sometime God has taken it away and healed them, and sometime he hasn’t.
Yes, I am imperfect.
The boys get their height from both sides of the family. I was fully grown by the time I was 13 years old. My eldest is 6 foot at 13 years old. My youngest is 5 foot 5 inches at 11 years of age. Sometime they have sore knees and ankles which make their active lifestyle a painful time. They both have Severs which causes pain so bad that they can hardly walk after heavy exercise.
“Silence for the sake of peace” would say that I stay silent and not defend my children. Sense would tell me to defend those in my care. When you expect me to stay silent you are expecting me to not care. This criticism is coming from men, women, the children’s peers, from school bullies and from people outside my friends and close acquaintances. What they are saying is only their opinion.
• I have taught my children that opinions are like noses – everyone has one.
• I have taught my children that someone else’s opinion must be looked at but treated as an opinion only and not always fact.
• I have taught my children to listen carefully to criticism, but be wary of those that condemn.
Yes, I am imperfect.
As you read through this article, you may wonder at my education. I have very little education. My schooling finished at year 7, when my father decided that his eldest daughter needed to work for the family. I do not always get my words or sentences right and my punctuation is usually not correct. This is total article is unedited, as I am imperfect.
Yes, I am imperfect.
I don’t like people criticising me. I don’t like gossip. And these two things make me angry. I listen to someone’s opinion of something and I take it too seriously. My opinion of myself is based on the fact that I am loved by my God and He finds me acceptable and helps me where I am not. I am loved by my children, my family and my friends. More importantly, I am love by me.
Next time you seek to give me some helpful advice, I will smile and thank you for your words even if your words have hurt me. Yes, I am imperfect… but sometimes silence is much better than regretting the words I may speak in haste. Until I learn to do something different, I will do what I have always done. Maybe I am learning to become more perfect …sometimes.. but not today. Today, I will share my heart and pray that you hear.
If you do hear, can I encourage you to speak words that build a person up and encourage them – I think that this would be perfect.
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