I had the priviledge of listening to a recorded broadcast by Beth Moore, an amazing Christian speaker, the other night at bible study. Amazing. One thing that she said that has really stuck with me the past few days is that she said in a way everyone is a mother. Everyone is a parent. Those with kids, and those without. Huh? We are all responsible for the next generation. We are all "parenting" the next generation.
Wow. What a thought.
It's kind of fun thinking that I, as a mom of 2 boys, am actually also a "parent" to thousands of daughters. Though not quite fulfilling the longing I have, it's one that I can be excited about; I can be an influence to thousands of girls.
These children are looking up to us...all of us...each and every one of us...kids or no kids. They are watching our every move. They are learning how to be good stewards of Christ by watching us. They are learning how to be good moms and good dads, good husbands and good wives, good friends and good sons and daughters by watching us. They are learning how to respond when they are angry, how to forgive or ask for forgiveness, and learning about grace, by watching us. They are learning how to serve, how to sacrifice, how to love, how to care and how to give by watching us.
Unfortunately, they are also watching the bad things.
The other day I was at the park with my boys. This sweet little girl came up to my oldest son and asked if they could be friends. My son, new on the whole speaking to others (see sticker chart), shyly obliged. They were playing great together until my youngest son was trying to go down the slide. I wasn't too concerned that she was encouraging him down the slide, after all, the slide was only 2 feet off the ground. However, her mother came over IRATE that she was doing that. She drug (literally pulled her off the slide and had the girl's feet dragging behind her) her over to the bench and SCREAMED (read: verbal abuse) at this little girl. I tried to say that it was okay, she didn't cause any harm but the mom would not hear it. A few minutes later it happened again, only this time the mom screamed at the little girl to go to the van for a consequence. Fortunately I was able to distract the mom long enough to have her forget that she was going to "give a consequence." What did the little girl do? She picked some flowers for me. ME. A complete stranger. They are watching.
The illustration above allowed for a great teachable moment with my boys too.
As parents we can only do so much. We have to rely on those around us to be a support as well and hope that it's support, and not something else. It's scary to think that someone I don't even know, don't have a chance to approve or disapprove, will have an influence on my child. And there will be times when I am not around to provide my version of a teachable moment. It's for times like that that I pray...hard. If I didn't pray, I would drive myself crazy thinking about all the bad.
God give me a patient heart, an encouraging voice, and words to speak so I can positively influence my kids...all kids...Be with my children when I can't be there, guide them, help them to be the positive influence to their peers. God, please take my fears away. Fill my heart instead with love and trust that I'm doing my best, doing your will. Amen.
And a special prayer for ALL of you (parents or not) out there...may you be a positive influence today, tomorrow, and forever, knowing that little ones are watching.
Readers: I never know what to do when I see a situation of abuse. What would you/do you do?
© Transparencies of Motherhood 2010