Parenting is a lifelong journey, regardless of how many children we have or how old they become. While each child is unique, it would be cruel to let our children live without God. To help our children to live wisely, we need to Deposit the Word of God (Deuteronomy 6) in them and let them Dwell richly in Christ (i.e. Disciple them). But even understanding this does not make parenting a breeze.
I once thought that I had mastered parenting, as I saw my son growing up well through the different developmental stages.
But things became challenging after he turned twelve and our relationship continued deteriorating throughout his adolescence.
I wondered what had happened to all our years of investment in grounding him to love God and others. Didn’t the Bible tell us, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov 22:6 ESV). I wished then that I could plug into his brain to read his thoughts and understand his mind! All my good intentions and advice were like chaff; worthless and useless.
What followed were anguish, tears, disappointment and loads of frustration. What exactly had gone wrong? My husband and I were in despair and could only cry out to God for relief.
God used parenting to humble me. I knew then that I was far from having mastered parenting. I went before God and admitted, “I don’t know, but You know.” I acknowledged that in every aspect of my son’s growth, I needed God to guide me constantly. I thought that I had engaged in many heart-to-heart talks with my son in the past, but I realised that most of them were merely lectures about my views and ways for him. I had assumed too much and thought my way was the best way. It had not worked for him nor me. I could not walk on my own on this road. I needed God. Upon repenting to Him, I confessed the defects in my parenting to my son too. I remembered telling him that I was just an ‘L’ Plate mum. I needed help from God and also from him to be an effective mum.
Each year, as my son grows older, he embraces new ways and thoughts. I need time to learn and adjust to cope with his growth and changes. I am just an ‘L’ plate mum. I need guidance in order for me to parent him through different life stages. As an ‘L’ plate holder, I need God to be at my side to guide me to wisdom. I would never want to think that I have mastered parenting and can drop the ‘L’ plate from my parenting. Because of my ‘L’ plate, I have learnt to seek God and be patient with the other ‘L’ plate holder, my son. We learnt that we had to be more patient and understanding towards each other. Even when God blessed me with a second child, I knew that it did not mean that I would know it all with her.
I am still just an ‘L’ plate mum to both of my children. I still need to continue to seek God and His wisdom to lead and guide me. Parenting is never easy. I am thankful that God has been with me and my husband in this parenting journey. Have a blessed Mother’s Day, and not only today but every day, let us dwell in the riches of God to extend His love and wisdom to our children.
By Serin Chng, Pastoral Staff (YCKC Bulletin 12&13 May 2018)