So here it is- my very first blog post. I suppose I could have decided to write about anything, but the thing that is closest to my heart is parenting. So, even though I am not the perfect parent (who is?), I have decided that I should just go ahead and do it.
Who am I? Fair question. I am Kelly, a wife to a wonderful guy (Daniel) and have 4 kids. Micah (11), twins Jadon and Chaya (9) and Aylee (6). Two boys and two girls- just what I always wanted! Oh, and for a living, I am a high school math teacher.
In my years of teaching high school, I have had lots of parent/teacher conferences and had in my mind what I was NEVER going to do as a parent once I had kids. I’ve been pretty successful with that, since I saw how kids turned out with different parenting styles. I also saw what did work, and tried to align what I did with what works. As I write these posts, please keep in mind that every family is different, so I will try to keep to key principles. Nothing here is meant to offend, just to offer advice. And I welcome your input into the conversation!
Why parenting? I am so type A it isn’t even funny. The first few years after I decided to be a stay-at-home mom for a season were killer. I wanted results. I wanted to feel useful, productive. As much as I loved those sweet babies, there is little to show for from feeding and changing diapers all day. But then that day came, where I saw that little person starting to emerge. My view was forever changed! I am not just feeding and changing diapers- I am shaping a HUMAN BEING! Wow- what a humbling revelation! Everything I do and say will either build them into who they were created to be, or damage them. Have you ever thought about that?!?
So today’s post is about first things. I believe in order to be an effective parent, we need to be in sync with the One who created us. How is your relationship with God? Are you growing closer or farther away? The first thing as a parent or parents, is that we should have a good, growing relationship with God. Maybe you’ve had a relationship with him before. Maybe you went to church in the past and have been hurt. Maybe you are just burnt out. As parents, we do things all the time that require being selfless. I certainly didn’t want to wake up at 3AM to make another bottle! But I did. Why? My kid needed it! So why try to get closer to God- even if we’ve been hurt? For our kids- they need it! At first it may be hard, but just push through. Start to pray- really pray! What has hurt you? Tell God, He cares! What are you struggling with right now? Pray about anything and everything. I know I feel so much better when I bring things to God.
Some of you have a pretty good walk with God already. Others need healing. Once you are at a place where you feel closer to God, now is the time to start parenting. Do your kids know about God? Is it just because they go to church? Do they hear you pray? One thing my husband and I have been very intentional about, is being transparent and real in our faith. I pray, out loud, over my kids daily. And not just “God is great, God is good, let us thank him for our food” type prayers. Specific prayers. I pray for their walks with God, things they are struggling with, for their future. This shows them, that in our family, we depend on God. We talk to Him as we would our Daddy. He cares about every aspect of our lives. This also teaches our kids how to pray as well. It is so sweet to hear my kids pray for their friends and each other. When mommy has had a bad day, they pray for me! We need to teach our kids to focus on God. If they can learn continual prayer as a young child- what a blessing! I had to learn this once I was a grown up!
You don’t have to be a minister to pray. Prayer is just talking to God. Thank Him for your kid(s). Thank Him for giving you what you need. Pray for what is on your heart. Don’t be afraid to be transparent! One of the biggest mistakes I see parents make, is trying to cover up the fact that you aren’t perfect! They know, trust me!!! Meet them where you are and go to God together. What something amazing to happen in your family? Humble yourself enough to ask forgiveness for something you have done, out loud, with your kids (obviously, use your discretion if you have done something that is not kid-appropriate). They will see another side to you and that can tear down walls. I recommend praying with your kids all the way through school, even in 12th grade! If they want to pray with you in college, go for it! There is something powerful about praying together!
Homework: (I am, after all, a teacher….)
1. Do something that will bring you, as a parent, closer to God. Anything. No matter how far or how close you are, try to get even closer!
2. Start praying with your kids. Today. Start as simple as you need to. And pray “real”. I’ve heard that it takes a few weeks to make something a new habit. So start now and keep at it. Even when you are tired, or feel you have nothing to say. As you do so, it will get easier and it will become a good habit!
Matthew 6:9-13 is the Lord’s Prayer, maybe this can help you get started.
God bless you as you seek to raise your kids!