“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16 (NIV)
So far this morning I’ve had to explain why we don’t eat a breakfast bar, granola bar and fruit snacks as I’m getting ready to serve an egg muffin sandwich in less than five minutes. I’ve re-reminded of the rules of why we don’t drink our sibling’s chocolate milk just because he’s not here. I’ve had to explain to one of our children that since said child doesn’t know what is planned for the day, arguing with me isn’t really reasonable when I say we’re eating lunch at noon and I know what our schedule is (and they don’t). I ended my evening the night before with, “I understand that you’re upset. You’re welcome to cry or be upset – I get it, but it doesn’t change the direction that was given.” And all this before 9 AM!
As I was reflecting on the above morning, it got me thinking. My husband and I are raising three distinct personalities. All wonderful, unique personalities and all vastly different. One is more sensitive than the others and a certain tone of voice works better than another. Another child is also just as sensitive; yet will not admit it, so while said child comes off strong, we as parents must be careful how we word things as well so as to shape the child, not break the spirit. Our third child is different still – all perfectly created to fulfill the role God created them for.
Each of our children are at different stages in parenting. And each child has a different personality that needs to be parented. And it’s our responsibility to parent each child the way God intends… not necessarily the way each child wants to be parented, but to be strong enough to parent each child the way each needs to be parented.
I say this because I was parented by God last week and I found myself resisting, even though at 45 years old, I know better. I don’t like being corrected and I don’t like being told “no.” I resist being parented because I don’t like making mistakes. Yet, God knew I needed it because He loves me and saw the big picture. He knew if He ignored the issue, while it was still small now, could grew huge and I could fall off the cliff that He knew and I knew I didn’t want to fall off of. However, He loved me enough to bring the issue to my attention. It was still my decision whether I listened to His correction and submitted or continued toward the cliff. I chose submission because I would rather submit to God and remain close to Him than choose to do things my way and have a wall between us. However, during the time it took me to fully submit, I was miserable and hated having my flaws pointed out.
Three different personalities. Three different parenting skills. Working simultaneously to parent the way God intends, not the way our children necessarily want. Will we get it perfect all the time? Nope. Factor in hormones, exhaustion, chaos, sickness, etc. (from me, not the kids) and I fail miserably more than I wish. But today, when the debate landed squarely in my kitchen all before 9 AM, I was able to see clearly the differences we have, and how it’s my responsibility to hold fast to being sensitive to their personalities while continuing to point out areas that need to be changed. Not always easy, but always worth it.
Parenting according to personality – I’m so glad God loves me enough to parent me in the way that I can hear it but is also the way that points me back to where I need to be.
© Cheri Swalwell 2017