Imitation is the highest form of flattery. As a "Christian", I am saying that every day I seek to be more and more like Christ. Often, I find that it would be much easier to do this if I didn't have kids.
I imagine that if I didn't have kids, I could be the most efficient worker, the most patient leader, and the most humble servant. If I didn't have kids, I would have hours to devote to the Lord in prayer and study. I have fairly lofty ideals of myself and how wonderful of a person I would be without kids.
The reality is that my kids are some of the best tools for shaping and molding my character because they bring out my laziness, my impatience, and my selfishness. They are a mirror for my shortcomings, and make me rely upon the Lord minute by minute.
In order to be the type of person that glorifies God in the position in which He has placed me, I need to look at the attributes of God to imitate as a good parent - a reflection of His glory.
No. 1 - Intelligent Designer
So much of our current culture believes that evolution will produce something of substance. However, even in our day to day lives, without a design to our schedule, our curriculum, or our discipleship, randomness will never trump design.
As parents, if we leave the activities our children participate in, the books our kids study, or the character our young disciples develop to chance, we are assuming that evolution can produce the same level of quality that a Designer can.
If we imitate the Intelligent Designer, we will have to lead our children with vision. I'm not talking about being a helicopter parent, hovering around every moment and micro-managing situations. I'm not even talking about cultivating them to a certain career. I'm talking about being actively involved in the cultivation of a young disciple, an apprenticeship.
A mentor will see the skills, abilities, and shortcomings of his apprentice. They'll be able to use the strengths to shore up the weaknesses. This type of cultivation doesn't happen by random chance. It happens from careful consideration by an intelligent designer.
No. 2 - Patient Waiter
Even as a designer, God has been patiently waiting for the fullness of His plan to come to fruition. It's so easy to get frustrated in wanting microwave results that taste like crock pot meals.
This is a hard one for me. I like to see results. I also know that sometimes I really do need to be that extra push that helps them reach more than they imagined they could. Fundamentally, I talk myself into believing that every time I push, I'm wanting the best for them. Honestly, many times, I want them to look great, or finish quickly for myself. I like the glory that comes with a job well done quickly. That makes me a better mom right?
It all continues to go back to the end game. God patiently waits for us, and it's not because He couldn't speak a word and perfect the world in an instant. He waits because He's given us the opportunity to choose to be like Him. He wants us to invest our time and talents in the process.
Helicopter blades down. Back away. Take a breath. If you've invested in their character, you can give them room to join you. There is no need to drag them the whole way. Patiently wait for a partnership. It will be a beautiful blessing for both of you.
No. 3 - Humble Servant
It doesn't make sense that the Creator of the Universe would humble Himself and serve the very creatures He created. Why is it that I struggle so much with serving my family?
I think that my definition of a servant has been skewed. Equating servant-hood with door-mat, I get worn out "serving" my family and want to quit. The trouble is that this type of serving is short sighted and I end up a martyr with no rewards.
Door-mat servant-hood is short sighted because it enables my children to be lazy. If I'm doing everything for them, they will be weak and miss all of the wonderful lessons that come from doing hard things. Christ's example of servant-hood was expressed in elevating the people's needs over his own. Again, this is where things tend to get confused. The people were harassed like sheep without a shepherd.
A tender shepherd serves the sheep by giving them what they need, not what they want. The Israelites wanted Christ to be a conquering king, not a suffering servant. In order to save them from their sins, Christ came to conquer sin, not to conquer Rome.
As parents, we need to serve our children by putting their need for discipline and leadership above our own desire for popularity and comfort.
How are you reflecting the glory of God for your kids?
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.