by Jalexus McClendon
I have come to recognize that I am the type of person that loves order and structure! This in and of itself is not a terrible thing until things begin to get chaotic. As a mother of two, I am no stranger to the sometimes very chaotic moments that come with living in the hoodest of hoods. PARENTHOOD! It is often said that there is no guide to parenting and you have to just learn as you go. Though this is definitely true to a certain degree, I challenge those of us that identify as Believers in Christ, to really do a self-examination. Ask yourself, if your “parenting style” is in submission to God’s Will.
I recall one Sunday morning in particular my children and I were getting ready to attend church. My then three-year-old daughter requested to have two Jimmy Dean Pancake and Sausage on a Stick. Her big brother kindly obliged to her request while I continued to get dress. Shortly after finishing, it was time for us to get into the car to be on our way to ensure we were on time. My daughter was still eating her breakfast and decided to bring the rest with her into the car. About halfway during our ride, she begins to cry. When asked why she is crying, she hysterically replies that she does not have any water. I attempted to comfort her and tell her to breathe and calm down. I offered her the bottle of water that I had grabbed, but she refused stating that she wanted cold water. She began to kick the seat in front of her, continue to cry, and scream “I want water”. Once again, I like order, and I like structure. This was anything but order and structure on the way to Sunday Service. This is normally a peaceful time of prayer, praise, and worship in the car as I prepare my heart and mind.
“…Do not provoke your children, so they will not become discouraged.”-Colossians 3:21-
I remember the frustration that I felt in that moment with my daughter as she threw her tantrum. I remember focusing on how I felt and not really considering her feelings. This would be one of many other moments to come when my children would seemingly deter from my desired plan or structure. Being perfectly honest, I haven’t always responded well in those situations. There were moments where my response was to yell or raise my voice in a rage. Yet if I were to take a step back and assess what was going on, I would see that my child was experiencing a negative emotion and no one desires to feel hurt, mad, frustrated, or sad. Especially when brought to the point of tears. In those instances, I have the opportunity to walk in the love of Christ and ultimately portray the characteristics of Christ to my children. Often times as parents we can feel that we are granted the ability to respond any way that we want because we are in charge. When in reality we have the responsibility to respond in a way that is an example to our children of Christlike behavior.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.– Proverbs 22:6-
A part of training up our children in the things of God, is leading and living by example. We are our children’s first and closest example of what love looks like. We are their introduction to what a relationship with God and what obedience to God looks like. We must not take the responsibility to train them lightly. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 tells us that Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. Do we hold ourselves to the standard of responding in love when we are correcting and disciplining our children? Or do we abuse the authority we have as the role of being a parent? The Bible speaks of God chastening those that He loves, as a father to his children. I am guilty of not always responding in love. How contradictory is it to respond to my children in anger, a negative emotion, because they are experiencing a negative emotion?!?! As adults we are not sinless, and we find ourselves in circumstances that we do not obey our Heavenly Father. As adults we find ourselves in spiritual temper tantrums, allowing our ego to throw a fit or have a meltdown because it doesn’t get what it wants when it wants it. Yet in both instances, God meets us with His love. He meets us with grace, and He meets us with compassion. I like to think of compassion as care in action. It is one thing to verbally express that you love and care for someone, but it is another thing to show the love by being intentional in the consideration of their feelings and how you respond to them.
Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.– -Psalms 127:3-
As stated in the verse above, children are a gift from God and it should be our desire to steward well over the gift. There has been a recent “gentle parenting” movement in today’s culture which is a parenting approach that encourages a partnership between you and your child to make choices based on an internal willingness instead of external pressures. I’ve witnessed debates amongst Christian parents arguing if it is too “soft” of a method while other support the trend and the idea it incorporates to completely do away with physical discipline. I am not here to convince you if either is the right way. But I do challenge you to walk in obedience to what God’s Word says and not how culture says you should raise your children. Ephesians 6:4 reads “ Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.”
Rather it is your children, your co-workers, friends, romantic partners, or even strangers, as Believers we have the responsibility to always hold ourselves to the standard of being like Christ. We must not merely possess the title Christian with no desire to exhibit His characteristics. Now this doesn’t mean that you will always get it right, so just as you extend grace to others, please also be gracious to yourself. The perfect parent doesn’t exist, but a patient parent that doesn’t react out of emotion, and instead responds in the love of God does.
2 thoughts on “Patient Parenting”
I love that you express and prompt the responsibility to respond, (in parenting), in a way that is an example to children of Christlike behavior and not solely from the position of being in charge. That is pure 🤍
I’m always open to self evaluating the type of parent I am being. A few reminders here and a couple of new lessons as I read this simple guide. Thank you for sharing the truth about a realistic situation you’ve faced in parenting. Lord knows I can relate. Lol I’ve been both versions in this situation, the loving patient and gentle parent and the one who hasn’t responded according to scripture. LOL! Overall, a good read.