No mother sets out to discourage her children.
No one wakes up saying,
“I hope to fluster my children today and make them feel inadequate.”
or, “I will allow my kids to determine the way I speak to them. I will decide what tone of voice to use based on whether they are compliant and well-behaved.”
Of course we don’t think that way! And yet, that is what we often communicate in a day’s time.
We've had some challenging days around here. There have been long hours poring over math problems, hard moments in relationships, quiet periods of soul-searching, fervent times of prayer, and determined strides made towards recovering from this remodeling chaos we are so grateful for, but so weary from. Challenging circumstances and stretching situations in life may be the context of your current discouragement, but simply cannot stand as excuses for discouraging your children. We have a choice. As Moses said in Psalm 90, "the best of our days are but trouble and sorrow..."
We can't wait for life to get easier to look honestly at whether we are an encouragement or discouragement to children.
I recently asked my kids to tell me what things I have done that discourage them. I humbly share some of their insights...
Ways I've discouraged my kids:
- Roll my eyes.
- Repeat myself over and over with a condescending voice.
- Cut my children off when they attempt to speak.
- Complain about my kids to others.
- Be quick to point out faults.
Not discouraging our children is about us, not about our children's behavior; it is about changing ourselves as mothers. It is not so much a matter of what we say but the attitude in which we say it. Because none of us purpose to be a discouraging mother at the start of the day, choosing not to be is one of intentionality and purposing to BE ENCOURAGING.
Conversely, here are 5 simple ways I can encourage my kids:5 Ways To Encourage Your Kids | gracelaced.com
You are not a discouraging mom if you speak truth, if you correct and train. It is not discouraging to say the hard things. But, let us remember that Jesus did all these with love and gentleness; He spoke with a goal to edify and not to tear down. If you, like me, come to the end of some days regretting much of your tone or attitude towards your children, take heart ...God's grace is for our failures. The blood of Christ is not for the perfect, but for the desperate sinner.
It is not too late to stop discouraging. It is not too late to start encouraging...to set aside your own achy mom feet and dirty sandals, and do as Jesus--and wash another's feet. It may be your children's feet that you wash, serving them by purposing to not discourage but encourage, as they learn to walk this day. Through Him and for His glory.