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I have spent a lot of time talking about finding ourselves in the balance between being a mom and an individual with dreams/goals, in organizing our daily schedule to reach those goals, and in some self evaluation steps to becoming the mom we need to be to raise brave kids (part 1 and part 2). But I haven’t spent a lot of time talking about actual mothering actions, per se. Well, I’m working on that post. It is probably going to be broaching the subject of sleep and naps. But today’s topic is the 3rd part of my 3 part series: Ask forgiveness.
(I know in previous posts I’ve said it was a 5 part series. I’ve decided that it would be best to stop at 3 and encourage you to simply read the book for the rest of the B.R.A.V.E. acronym. Partially because I started wondering if I might be broaching copyright infringement unintentionally. Even though I’m not even looking at her chapters since the first one to make sure I’m not saying the same thing, I want to respect the rights of the author.)
For the rest of the B.R.A.V.E. acronym, I strongly recommend you purchase Lee Nienhuis’s book, Brave Moms, Brave Kids which you can find a link to in my previous post here. The book is super affordable and Amazon has amazing shipping rates (free regular shipping which is always fast, free 2-day shipping if you have a Prime membership – hint: if you’re a student, click here for your free 6 month student prime membership).
Nobody is perfect.
As much as we would like to think it is possible, perfection is not achievable. We are all human, and we will make mistakes from time to time. Most likely there will be something we do we regret and wish we had done differently every day.
You may be struggling with using improper language (particularly in front of young ears). You may be struggling with anger. Bitterness. Resentment. We are all a work in progress dealing with various emotional and spiritual battles. We will erupt at some point. Sometimes in small errors, but at other times it may be in big ways.
Reasons to check your pride
It is sometimes common to think that allowing others to see us confess our faults is a sign of weakness. It is further not kosher to apologize to our children. There is almost this chip on the parent’s shoulder that says that because they are in charge, that the kids have to accept everything they say and do, even if they’re wrong. This “chip” doesn’t foster a healthy relationship with the children that will hold them through their teen years and into adulthood. And it certainly isn’t Biblical.
While respect and obedience is instructed of children in the Bible, parents are not immune from the responsibilities of owning their own mistakes. By acknowledging your humanity and imperfectness to your children, and your sincere regret for offending or hurting them, you are building a stronger relationship with them. And that is the relationship that will help carry them through to adulthood.
Leadership by example.
The strongest impact we can have on our own children is how we lead by example. We teach our children to say “I’m sorry” when they hurt someone. You probably take it a step further and ask them to ask for forgiveness because you know that it requires a response from the other person so that the relationship is in fact maintained. But what if they never see you do it?
Even if you didn’t hurt them, if they saw you hurt someone else (emotionally, physically, unintentional or not), they need to see you apologize to that person. They need to see it demonstrated. They are learning by your example more than they are learning by your words.
The man I would have named my child after had she been a boy once stood in a pulpit and said that to touch/impact a heart was by the heart, but to impact a life required your life (paraphrasing). That man was my grandfather and he lived those words long before he ever preached them. (And man do I miss him so much!)
Humility and honesty.
I believe that humility in this manner is a part of teaching our children to be honest. Honest with ourselves and others. We don’t sugar coat anything to make it appear like it isn’t what it is. We are honest with them about our failure and our commitment to re-establish a right relationship with them. And we are grateful to them when they accept our apology and forgive us.
They will learn by our example that making things right is the only way to maintain strong relationships. In turn, we need to demonstrate our ability to forgive them when they have wronged. Yes, there needs to be discipline, but our attitude and spirit needs to be checked and the discipline dealt in love and the end goal should always be the restoration of their relationship to you.
And not all of their failures necessarily require discipline from you. Especially as they get older, oftentimes their mistakes bring about their own natural consequences. And their ability to confide in you is simply another way to cement the relationship so that they will always know they have a home in your heart and arms.
Don’t let your pride get in the way of healing the breach in your relationship with your child or other people in your life. The only thing in life that matters is our relationships with people. First and foremost our relationship with our family, secondly with our immediate friends, and thirdly with the outside world. You never know who else is watching, but you can bet your children are. And they need to feel your love by hearing you say, “I’m sorry for (insert offense), will you forgive me?”
Join the band of gypsy mothers!
I’m so glad you stopped by, and I hope you were touched or encouraged in some way by this post. I hope you will join my band of gypsy mothers! There will be no daily spamming of your inbox. I do hope to give you a little extra encouragement once a week with a brief overview of that week’s postings. I also hope to establish a community of single mothers to walk together in this thing called life. We need each other!