Why My Perspective About My Children Is All Wrong
Children–Expanding My Perspective Might Change Everything
I’ve talked about the amazing fact that God uniquely created you, one-of-a-kind, like absolutely no one else on earth repeatedly on this blog. It’s a theme of mine. He wants a unique and special relationship with you, like no one else’s. This is really such a life-changing concept if you can accept it! And, it’s my passion, as a Christian blogger, and older wife and mom, to share this with you. I pray you’ll embrace it and live it out every day!
Today, I want to take it a step further. As a stay-at-home-mom, a Homeschooler–I don’t know about you, but, when I was raising my children–it was easy to have this feeling that there was no separate identity, almost, between my kids and me. They were such an extension of me. I gave birth to them, and I’ve been with them night and day, every day of their lives, taught them everything they know, basically.
We’re, as parents, telling them what to believe about the world, about God, answering all their questions. They spit out exactly what we tell them, and repeat what we believe. While they are little. I recommend this tool for when your children are ready to be taught to evaluate Godly character, and what that is (as early as 6-years-old or so): Character Evaluation Family Times using Character Evaluation Forms.
Until you’re raising tween girls and tween boys–about 9 to 12–then watch out, because, at that age, they become aware of things outside themselves and observe and watch you, the people most important to them. They are trying to figure out what they believe and looking for people to follow. They will be confused when your actions don’t match your words. So, they ask you about that when they see it happen! Frustrating to a parent is the fact that, even though they don’t seem to remember your instructions for two seconds about a chore you want them to do, they can remember verbatim and repeat back to you, every word you’ve said that was not consistent with your actions, and what you said you believe. But, this is a good thing. They will call you on it, politely, usually, whenever your words and actions don’t match up! And, they will keep you honest.
God Uniquely Created YOU!
They Are Uniquely-Created By God, Not A Mini Version of Me
It is easy, as parents, to fall into the trap, the false belief–whether truly believed or not, or said or not–that my children are a mini version of me.
Often you hear people say, “Who does the baby look like?” “Oh, they look just like their mom.” or Dad. And, as they grow to be little toddlers and preschoolers–sometimes even older–and you run into someone who knew you, the parent, when you were little and they see your child, it’s not unusual for them to say, “They’re a little version of you!” Or, “They’re exactly like you when you were that age!”
Parents want their children to be like them–that’s normal–but we forget they’re uniquely created, too
I think one reason we like that they’re so much like us is that, in parenting, we feel like we have a second chance at our own life. If we raise our children well and they don’t make the same mistakes we made, we can maybe negate or erase some of the negatives in our own lives.
I’m not saying we don’t act out of love for our children. Of course, we want the best for our children. We love them more than anything and want them to avoid the consequences that we know were from our wrong decisions and bad choices.
I Want My Children to Stand On My Shoulders
I know I thought that my kids could stand on my shoulders, so to speak, because I had not grown up knowing the Lord, or living for Him, and so, raising them for Christ, I believed they could start out as Christian adults so much further ahead than I had. And, this is, of course, correct, to a degree.
I just read the “stand on our shoulders” phrase written by a prominent Christian author today! If, by this phrase we mean we want them to experience the generational blessings that the Lord promises to those who believe in Him and obey Him, yes, we definitely want our children to stand on our shoulders.
Who Are Our Children, Really?
I’m going to say something so controversial, so against everything that I heard when I was raising my children, and clearly a message that is not probably going to make you happy.
Each one of your children is ALSO, just as truly as you are, uniquely created by God, with a very special, one-of-a-kind, no one on earth the same as they are, identity, and unique life and plan from God! They are different from you. And, that’s a good thing. That is not something I would have wanted to hear when my kids were growing up.
This may shake you to your boots, or maybe you’ll say, “Yeah, so what.”
God Has a Uniquely-Created-Plan For Your Children
- If we are to train them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord…
- If we are to train them up in the way they should go…
- If we are to prepare them for what the Lord has for them to do in this world, and to raise them to adulthood…
Then, knowing that God has a uniquely-created plan for your children makes all the difference in the world to how you raise them. Knowing who they are, and who they aren’t, is very important.
Not Only You Are Uniquely Created By God, But So Are Your Children
They are not us. They have very unique personalities, very unique gifts, and talents, very unique life purposes. Even if they seem to have a similar personality to you, they will marry a very different spouse from you, make different decisions, and God has a different purpose and plan for their life than He did for yours. Am I getting my point across?
This would NOT have been an easy or a pleasant message for me to receive when I was raising my children, I have to admit. So, hang in there with me.
God has a purpose and plan for their life!
It would have shaken me, but without my knowing exactly why. I think I thought that my children were like my husband or me, and those were the only two options. Well, I may have acknowledged the possibility that they were a little like a grandparent or an aunt or uncle, too. Completely unique individuals created by God just wasn’t even in my thinking.
As the parent of grown children, I realize so many of my presuppositions were wrong back then. I don’t think it was in the forefront of my mind, just that how I acted and parented showed that I thought certain things were givens.
I Always Get In Trouble When I Think I Know
Of course, my kids would marry, have children, live near me, go to my church, or one like it, believe the same things that my husband and I believe about God, faith and life, and how one lives Godly in this world. Of course, they would live out their faith pretty much the way we do.
I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but that they will do all of that is highly unlikely. Not that they’re going to go astray, or not be believers. I’m just saying that even if they believe the same statement of faith you do and agree with you down the line on doctrine, they’re going to make different decisions than you would, as they go through life.
They’re going to have a completely unique relationship with Jesus Christ and He will be growing them and leading them to come to different decisions to bring them to the places He wants them to be to accomplish His purposes, and bring glory to Himself through their unique situations, circumstances, trials and blessings, and using the bad and the good to mold them, just like He did, and still is, you.
Parenting Can Be Tough
Ok, so how does the same message, the same incredibly encouraging, wonderful, message that I am uniquely created by God, with a unique one-of-a-kind plan by God for fabulous communication of a message of hope and life to the world, turn into a discouraging, and sad message when spoken of about our children? Well, maybe not sad or discouraging, but somehow it becomes filled with apprehension, instead of joy! Do you feel it?
I think it’s because, as parents, we think we own our children. We say they are God’s, but we live like they are ours.
God loves these children more than we do. You’ve heard that before, but you didn’t really believe it. They are God’s. He wants a really great relationship with them. He has a plan for them, now and as adults. As parents, from before they’re born, God has a plan, and we need to trust Him. Let’s not get in the way, but work with Him to accomplish His plan and purposes.
Why We Don’t Own Our Children
What an incredible thing that God gave His perfect Son, Jesus, to human parents to raise. What a risky thing to do! God surprises me all the time. I would never do that. But, God did.
You see, I’m going to confess something to you. I’m kind of a control freak, at times. I was worse when I was raising my kids.
I believed, for a time, or acted like I believed, that if I did x, y, and z, I would get wonderful kids who would be the product that I wanted! I have, by the grace of God, wonderful kids, grown children, who love the Lord, and who we have close relationships with. I’m so grateful for that!
Is There A Formula for Raising Perfect Godly Children?
But, first of all, the above question about whether there is a formula for raising Godly children presupposes that there IS an x, y, and z, and that my husband and I would agree on what x, y, and z were. Then it presupposes that we’d be able to DO x, y, and z, if we just knew what it was, and then it totally rules out the humanness of our children and their sinful natures. And, forgets and totally leaves out God.
This all seems so logical and obvious to me now. But, when I was raising my kids, I so desperately wanted them to turn out “right” and I think I was so fearful of all the possibilities, that I really, really wanted to believe that there was a formula that would work.
I have good news for you, though. There is something better than a formula. There is God. Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit. And, God’s Word. Oh, how infinitely better our Heavenly Father is than any formula we could come up with. Sovereign, Loving, All-Powerful, All-Knowing, All-Seeing, in complete control, not surprised or taken off-guard by any of the things that have and do throw me for a loop.
Join Me As I Encourage You!
I will admit that trusting God for my kids’ lives is way harder than trusting Him for my own. (And just wait til I have grandchildren! I can’t even imagine.)
I will encourage you to start now, however old your children are, to let go, letting God have control, letting your children make some of their own decisions and make mistakes (within reason, and using your wisdom and discernment), because if you think it’s hard to trust Him with them when they’re little, just wait till they’re older!
God isn’t done teaching us things as parents when our kids reach a certain age, (in fact, having grown children felt like Faith 404, compared to Faith 101:) and He is still growing me in the faith department, (and will be until the day He takes me home)!
I’m rambling, I realize, but this isn’t something you’re going to grasp with one blog post! It’s learned little by little, step by step. It’s a journey of faith. But, I hope that you will start on the journey. It will change your parenting. God has an amazing plan for each and every one of your extremely uniquely created-by-God children!
Do you see your child’s distinct personality? Let me know in the comments how you see the unique way God has made your child.
Have a Great Week Making Your Home For God!
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About the Author
Wendy Gunn helps young Christian moms have clarity and consistency prioritizing God's Unique Goals for their home, family, and life through courses and coaching.