As it says in Psalm 127:3 (NLT), ‘ Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from
him.’ He gives us good gifts. Gifts we are to treasure and for which I am grateful. I delight in
my children. I want to demonstrate the goodness and kindness of God. I want to be a
patient, fair, trustworthy, respectful adult who values each of my children for who they are.
Sometimes I will put their needs before my own. However, there are times my kids need
tough love. They need boundaries and discipline as much as they need to know His comfort
and His grace. They need me to be the fun, cool, relaxed mum as much as the strong, firm,
decisive mum, no matter where we are.
For me, the trickiest part of parenting is finding the balance of unconditional love and tough love. Sometimes the most loving thing God does for me is to challenge me to grow. There are moments in parenting where we need to look to their long term character development and question what it looks like for their future. I adore my boys. I try to accept and appreciate them for who they are, made in God's image. But they need my help. After all I believe it's our job as parents to raise boys who love Jesus, honour Him and share His values with the world.
One thing I've known from the very beginning, my boys are not my own. Yes, God chose to
knit them together in my womb using a combination of my husband and my DNA, but they
are His. Made in His image - thank goodness! They have the incredible capacity to become
someone exceptional, with the character of Jesus, but they’re not perfect. I am the
privileged one (along with my hubby) who gets to take them and show them Jesus, and the
way he wants us to see the world and live in it. As a father, God is the perfect parent. So we
take our lead from Him. He made them. He knows them and he has set out a path for them.
I'd love to see them flourish and stick to that path with as few obstacles and detours as
possible. But this can be challenging at times. A motivator, for me, is the knowledge that the
consequence of little or no discipline is heartbreaking the older kids grow – as a teacher I’ve
witnessed this first hand. I believe discipline provides the guidelines which allow children to
flourish. They thrive when given clear expectations, consistent parenting and grace in
Here are some of the helpful things we’ve learned along the way…
Kids need clear, consistent,constant guidelines. Communicating what we expect goes a long way, especially when calling them on it later. For example, after starting Kindergarten Term 1 this year, my five year old was tired. The first term of Kindergarten was both thrilling and exhausting as he embarked on new adventures. Like me, he doesn’t make good choices when he’s tired. He can be argumentative, determined and getting to devastated quickly over seemingly small issues seems to be something he’s perfecting. So we set clear expectations, we tell him he has a choice and what the consequence will be if he makes an unwise choice. I don’t enjoy confiscating his favourite things any more than he enjoys going without. But he is then able to make a connection between his actions and their consequences, and he trusts me that when I say I will do something I stick to it (as much as is humanly possible).
This is the hardest part for us, as parents, I think. Those big green eyes can wear you down. The prevention of a tantrum can seem like the easier option. It’s in these moments we try and make choices that are best for all of us, even if saying ‘no’ seems like the tougher choice. When we set limits for our kids, we try to stick to them. It allows them to see that we mean what say, there are consequences for making the choices we make. And after a while they learn there are consequences for their actions. That's a lesson if learned later in life can be more destructive.
We make mistakes all the time. We are ALL learning. And man, don't our kids teach us a thing or two?! There are times when compromise is best for everyone. Again, we need to think of the long term consequences. We can’t challenge them about everything they do in a day. Fighting that super tired child for every bite of dinner is a constant case of ‘gauge as you go’. We ask ourselves, ‘is it worth it today?’ Some days it is, especially if you’ve given clear expectations that aren’t being met by your kids. God discerns his ‘yes’, ‘no’ and ‘not yet’ in ways we won’t ever understand because he is God. And of course, parenting is personal for both you and the child. What works for some children, doesn’t work for others.
Our parents did it and their parents did it. They made mistakes – so do we. But we are more educated and more equipped than ever to engage our children, know them, respect them and guide them. There are so many people watching and judging how we parent - family members, friends and even strangers. What we say in front of others and on social media, to our children and about our children, is noted (and unfortunately, judged) by others. I am guilty of it, for sure. I seek to honour my husband and kids via this platform, and only speak positively of them. But don't worry, plenty of craziness and tantrums happen in the privacy of our own home, or if they’re really lucky, even among the company of family and friends. We choose what we share out of respect for our children and their dignity.
It’s good to be intentional about parenting as we are about other areas of life. The bible says to ‘seek his will in all you do’. We trust His wisdom and the knowledge that He has our future in mind when he says 'no'. God knows our needs and the needs of our children and he loves them more than we do. This passage in Proverbs 3. 3-12 is a great advisor to the ways we live, including parenting …
‘Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
Write them deep within your heart.
Then you will find favour with both God and people,
and you will earn a good reputation.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
Then you will have healing for your body
and strength for your bones.
Honour the LORD with your wealth
and with the best part of everything you produce.
Then he will fill your barns with grain,
and your vats will overflow with good wine.
My child, don’t reject the LORD’s discipline,
and don’t be upset when he corrects you.
For the LORD corrects those he loves,
just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.’
Marley Conomy, "grew up as a pastors' daughter with a great desire to know my Creator through his word and to love people. I'm wife to my creative, inspiring man, Bradley, and mama to two little superheroes, Ryder (5) and Franklin (18months). I mostly stay at home being mama and homemaker, but am also privileged to teach Primary students in a local school Part Time, where I am free to share Jesus with the children in my care."