Monday, April 2, 2012

The Gentle Art of Kamikaze Parenting - Pt. 3

I've had to think long and hard about this endeavor. Way back in January when I decided to pick my way across this minefield, I was afraid. I was afraid I'd set myself up as someone who'd stopped preachin' and gone to meddlin' or stopped meddlin' and gone to preachin'. You pick the one that offends you most. Mostly, I was afraid I'd shoot my mouth off one night to wake up the next morning and find out my kid had publicly humiliated me for life. In technicolor.

You know us 'Christians'. I know you do because you talk about us and our hypocrisy from time to time. If you aren't talking about us, we are talking about each other, I'm afraid. Wanna know a secret about us we'd rather die than admit? Come on, you know you do.

I am painfully aware that many of us (sadly me included) like to expound on reality like we have it all under control. After we give you all our advice and convince you that we have 'mad' parenting skills, we pray to God you don't figure out we are running like scared rabbits. We are running from the truth behind our own closed doors. If you ever catch up with us, you might find out what we know. It is so much easier for us to tell you how to live your life and fix your problems than it is for us to stay home and attend to our own disasters. Can I get an A-men?

Before I take one more step on this fearsome journey in the exploration of parenting, let me reassure you of what I said in Pt. 2. I am not a paragon of perfect parenting. I am not raising perfect sons. I don't have all the answers. I'm gonna be brave and share some things I've learned this last 21 years. That's all.

Parenting is a living organism. It changes as both you and your kids mature. What works today might be totally ineffective tomorrow and vice-versa. What works for me might never work for you because I'm not raising your kids. That principle keeps the book publishers busy producing the parenting method-of-the-month book club. We can drive ourselves crazy searching for a parenting solution the same way we look for a diet that works.

Before I was even a parent, I had a watershed moment. A lady I knew, and didn't care much for, made a comment that stuck with me forever. “God is Sovereign over your mistakes as a parent. Trust him to fulfill his plan for your children. Dedicate yourself to growing in your relationship with him, and ask him to lead you as you parent. If you stay true to that plan, you can trust him to use your mistakes for his plan.” Welcome to my world!

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
I remind myself of that reassuring bit of advice every single time I am afraid of a making a parenting mistake. It comes in handy when I'm afraid I did the best I could but still fell short. It keeps me from hyperventilating when I know I made the wrong decision. You know what else it does? It enables me to look my sons dead in the eye and say, “I'm sorry. I blew it.” 'I'm sorry' covers a multitude of sins with our kids when they see us fail and then set about to avoid the same mistake again.

When I left you hanging with Pt. 2 in January, we were in the midst of a lifestyle overhaul. You know how my life is if you've read much of our story. The one thing we can plan on is crisis. We've endured yet another one this last 2 months. Not so bad as some, but enough to derail my writing for a few weeks. Did you miss me as much as I missed you?

Besides wrecking my blog stats because I wasn't writing, the crisis also derailed the momentum I was working up to get my house in order. I stayed at it tho'. If I've learned one thing this last year, baby steps are what get you where you are going. So, I've kept on taking baby steps even when what I wanted to do was pole vault into a new, uncluttered, crisis-free life.

Courtesy M. Horrocks
Truth is: life ain't complete till it is over. Life is about the journey and how we navigate it between here and where we are going. What we all need on this parenting journey is the reassurance that we don't walk through it alone. It is not enough to know that we have good friends to depend upon in good times and bad. Sooner or later, even the best of friends will be insufficient.

While it may be true that we need help from our 'village' to raise good and decent children, what we really cannot live without is grace. Specifically, we need to know that we can fall back on the grace of an all-sufficient creator God who loves both us and our children in the best of times and the worst of times.

If we start from that foundation, we can weep with our village when a child falters instead of sitting on our judgmental thrones as if we, and our own children, are bullet proof. We will restore each other tenderly by caring for each other's wounds because we know ours might be the next wounds that need binding.

Courtesy B. Creasy
Oh, fraidy cat, have you blown it? Well, you are in GOOD company here with me in this little corner of cyberspace. I'm so glad you came in from the cold. If you know another parent whose life is falling apart, whose child is struggling, or who is unsure of what decision to make when, bring them back tomorrow? Ok? Love you long and strong. See you again soon!

Kamikaze Parenting – Pt. 1
Kamikaze Parenting – Pt. 2

Galatians 6: 9 (NASB)
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.


  1. Speaking for myself, I did a terrific job. ...except the parts I messed up. Honestly, I find children are amazingly forgiving of our faults if we have the humility to admit them.

    1. Oh, but they are. It takes a while sometimes, but 'sorry' and an honest effort to undo my wrongs usually bring them around sooner rather than later. Thank goodness!