Thursday, October 21, 2010

Not just for the mommies out there...

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 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


  1. hey greta! our weeks have been pretty busy lately and i haven't gotten to comment as much as i would like. just wanted to let you know that i am loving this new blog of yours and look forward to all of your new posts! :)

  2. Greta, this is such a great post. It is amazing if you think about it... it is true that we are parenting the next generation!

    I have witnessed abuse to children, verbal and a bit of spanking in public but I can't bring myself to confront the mother/s. What I do is stare at the mom in disgust from a distance and usually, when the mom notices me, they almost always stop and leave. It's sad how some parents can do such thing to their children. I guess all we have to do is teach our kids well so that they can be a good example to their peers and grow up to me role models.

  3. Greta, my heart aches about this exact same topic too. In fact, I worry when my little boy goes to school--will the teachers be unkind? Will he be bullied? Will he watch other kids getting bullied? I want to be there for all the teachable moments too! I guess there's not too much you can say to a parent like that, lest you become a target of the screaming etc. too. I think you did the right thing in talking to your boys afterward. I wish more could be done for the little girl, but at least she did notice your "kindness." This is such a great post!

  4. Great post! It's so hard to watch other people treat their children badly. I don't know what i would do. The other thing that scares me is what my children are exposed to from other children. They often mimic what they see at home. :(

  5. @Carly--Thanks for the complement :)

    @Kitten--Yea, I usually stare in disgust too, but this particular mom either didn't notice, or didn't care. It was so out of line, that when she said to the little girl she was going to get a consequence in the van that I knew a consequence was probably more like a beating. Ugh.

    @Annette--I have the same worries and fears. Hence, my prayers. I hate that there will be so many moments that I won't be around to teach truth to. But my hope is that I'll be around for enough of them that when those moments do happen they'll be the ones teaching their friends!

    @Ashley--Isn't it? I TOTALLY understand about what they are exposed to from other children. A good example just happened last night at the park. We were there playing and a group of 10 year olds (??) came over dressed in their skater clothes screaming obscenities and asking each other if their puppy was old enough to hump yet. Really? Around my kids? We packed up and left immediately.