You know what’s terrifying? Almost so terrifying that I want to close the laptop, walk away, and give up on these blog posts? The idea that one day my children will be older, and will read what I write. Someday, they will judge my day-to-day mothering against the ideals and advice I’m sharing with you.
What will they think? When they see how often I’ve fallen short, will they offer me grace? Will they call me a hypocrite?
Because the truth is that I consistently miss the mark. Often, how I want to respond to a situation is far different from how I actually respond in the heat of the moment. They say (and I don’t actually know who they are, but I’m sure I’ve heard them say it at some point) that you write what you need to read. Well, I am living proof. The truth is, I share these thoughts as much for myself as anyone. I write the things, the lessons, the ideals that I need most to remember.
And do you know what’s really ironic? Today I actually got frustrated at my child… for interrupting me while trying to write about being a patient, gentle mother. How’s that for hypocrisy?!
But you know, I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, and I’m not so sure hypocrisy is actually a bad thing.
Gandhi was once asked what he thought about Christianity. He responded that it was a beautiful ideal, but that he had yet to meet a Christian. Ouch!
(Speaking of Gandhi, little know fact: since he walked barefoot everywhere he developed some incredible callouses on his feet. Also, his frequent and severe fasting left him malnourished, which made his body weak and caused bad breath… So he was a Super Calloused Fragile Mystic Hexed by Halitosis! *wah wah waaaaah* Sorry, anyways.)
Yes, as a group Christians are hypocrites… but does that mean we should just give up? Or be ashamed and stop trying to speak the truth? The goal here is to imitate Christ, to live by His example, to parent as God parents me. In other words, to “Be ye perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matt 5:48
That is an unattainable goal, but still one we are commanded to strive for.
The thing is, there is only one way to not be a hypocrite. And that is to never try to improve, grow or reach towards higher ideals. Because as humans we will fall short of our goals, again and again and again.
So yes, here I am talking to you about peaceful parenting, when I have far more experience from my failures than my successes.
I say to use a gentle voice, but hardly a day goes by that I don’t have to apologize to my children for snapping or yelling at them.
I say to use gentle hands when I have regrettably slapped a little arm or bottom before.
Some days are good, and at bedtime can look back with joy at all the little wins.
Some days my children and I are all in tears, as we hug and kiss and make up.
And hopefully, my children will find it in themselves to keep accepting my apologies, and keep extending me the grace I often fail to give them. Because the sweetest gift they could ever give me, is their forgiveness.
Remember I’m in the trenches too. If you have a second, say a little prayer for me, that today will be one of the good days.