Kids are kids, and let’s just say they don’t always represent us parents well. As parents, we accept them as they are but because we love them, we have vision for their lives that they will mature into considerate and responsible adults one day. Herein lies the tension. We teach them right from wrong, we discipline inappropriate behavior, but ultimately we cannot control their behavior – and that’s exactly what always seems to manifest when everyone is watching. Can I get an “Amen?”
Whether it’s a tantrum in the checkout line, an all-out sibling brawl in the grocery aisles (pretending they aren’t yours is so tempting isn’t it? Ok, so I think I actually gave into that temptation once or three times, maybe four), a six year old who has yet to learn you can’t say everything that comes to mind, or a pre-teen who can’t seem to look adults in the eye. No matter how much you coach them, a magic remote would sure be handy. But the reality is, our kids are not robots with a handy remote.
“I am so sorry!” I vividly remember blurting out to my mom as tears began to flow as I held my newborn while my four year old rode circles around us on his bike trying to get away from my two year old who was chasing him in nothing but her underwear, cheeks flushed from a recent temper tantrum. “For what?” mom responded, her eyes and voice full of compassion. “The way I acted growing up,” I blubbered.
Becoming a parent myself brought on a newfound sense of gratitude, understanding and empathy for mom and dad . This parenting thing was no joke and come to find out they were a heck of a lot better at it than I had thought and if what goes around comes around then I had this coming. And speaking of goes around comes around, I can’t overlook the obvious fact that my kids are half my husband! It seemed for a brief moment in time that our three critters were a combination of the worst of me and the worst of him. Overwhelmed is the word that comes to mind.
I honestly think God used this stage in my life to teach me that my parents were truly saints, even though I didn’t treat them as such. And ss my heart grew more and more endearing and empathetic toward my earthly parents, so it did for my Father in heaven. God became so much more relatable to me now that I was experiencing the role of parent. So when I heard a pastor say, “God is in charge but He is not in control,” I got it!.
It use to seem so black and white and I remember often thinking “just get control of your kids,” until I became a parent myself. Don’t get me wrong, we have a huge responsibility to correct and discipline our kids for inappropriate behavior, but when I turned around in the parking lot to find my 5 year old peeing in the storefront bushes, suddenly becoming a magnet for all eyes within a mile radius, as if my forehead said “kid peeing belongs to me,” rest assured, that handy little remote was nowhere to be found.
I can’t help but empathize with my heavenly father every time I hear about someone who questions God after a Christian has done something inappropriate or distasteful. How incredibly sad that a “kid’s” behavior would turn them off to the God who created them. To think I have been that kid at times in my life is truly humbling.
Kids are kids and we don’t always represent our heavenly Father well. We’re not robots and He doesn’t carry a remote. So the next time one of His kids does something that misrepresents His name, I’ll smile up at Him, shrug my shoulders and say, “Kids!”