Confessions from an imperfect mom
I have been captivated by the thought that we reproduce who we are in others for as long as I can remember. We will reproduce not only what we say, but who we are. It is something that is ‘caught’ and not ‘taught’. Apple trees will reproduce apples and orange trees will produce oranges. I first heard that concept many years ago when I was learning about disciplining others and the teacher was telling us that we need to live out of who we are in Christ.
Joseph Chilton Pearce, says that what we are teaches the child more than what we say, so we must be what we want our children to become. We really do reproduce who we are in our children even when we don’t want to admit it. Our children know without being taught whether you are sincere or not. They see through our masks in ways that adults often can’t.
One of the challenges I have met since becoming a missionary is that we pray for the work on the field and we serve those around us both locally and globally. And then we come home. Our children need us and Neil and I discovered that we had sometimes poured ourselves out to meet the needs of others and didn’t have much to give to our kids at the end of the day.
Our children go to a local school. We prayed as a family and all agreed the Lord was leading them to be around children their own age from all spheres of life. As a matter of fact, this helps us. It is a great reminder that we are the primary source for teaching our children about the Lord. The Old Testament reminds of that as well. It’s so easy to let the churches or schools teach our children about God and His ways.
One evening, my husband and I looked at each other and realised that we were too tired from all our conversations during the day to speak to our teens about the Lord. Then, one day, we had a valuable discussion about it and understood how purposeful we really needed to be with them.
We have to parent intentionally. The result was that we changed a few things in our schedules so that we could be more available to our children. We stopped having afternoon meetings at our home and removed many of the work items from our lounge and dining room. Our home had started feeling like a missions base and not a safe place.
Quickly, we started to notice a few changes in our children’s hearts. We had more energy to have those spiritual discussions them too. All of us started to enjoy doing Bible studies again and we spent more time discipling them.
Whilst we don’t always have it right, I do think we’re onto something:
- Keep your home a haven — a safe place from the world (for you and your children.
- Set some boundaries around your work so that your children feel like they can enjoy being at home.
- Make sure that you have enough energy left to spend time with them. You need to intentionally invest spiritually into your children.
- Admit your mistakes and be real.
- Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you as you parent and love them.
Just because I’m a missionary, it doesn’t mean that my mission field is only out there; it starts at home with my children. They are the ones I want to minister to first. After all, I will reproduce who I am in them rather that what I say or do.