Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Dose of Reality

This will sound harsh. Even mean. If that bothers you -stop reading now. I have four kids. Mamoune is bossy and has a rebellious heart. Nathan is wimpy and a quitter. Isaiah is lazy and easily influenced. Isabella -too young to tell. If your jaw happens to be laying on the ground now, please pick it up and put it back on your face. I am not a hateful mom. It's not like we have t-shirts printed up with "wimpy," "bossy," and "lazy" on them. I love my kids. And I could make a list ten times as long of the good things I see in them. But I do see the character flaws which have the potential to destroy each of them if not chiseled, smoothed, and brought under the control of the Holy Spirit.

In fact, they are particularly easy to recognize because most days they are little mirror images of their mother. I am fully capable of being all the horrible things I've attributed to them. What's worse, I have ample experience being a lazy, rebel-hearted quitter all in the same two seconds.

This is where I find myself in parenting right now. It's not just about random or childish acts of disobedience. It's realizing that their choices seem to be consistently defined by these character traits. This is not what I want for them. I want to see Mamoune's bossiness become true biblical leadership and her heart to be full of tender mercies and service. I want wimpy Nathan to become a man of deep compassion who is willing to go the distance to see justice done. I want to see Isaiah become driven to influence others toward Godliness.

I believe my kids are well-behaved. (you may have evidence to the contrary -shrug) The older ladies in our neighborhood are always telling us that they are "mannerly children". It makes me smile. But I know that having kids who chew with their mouths closed, say yes ma'am, no ma'am, please, and thank you is not enough. It's a start and it's necessary but it isn't the end goal. I believe it was Michael Pearl (No Greater Joy Ministries) who said, "figure out what you want your children to be and then be that 10 times over." ugh. I've got my work cut out for me. Thankfully, God has provided a Paraclete (one of those fancy seminary words that Tim taught me) to come along side and advocate for me and the kids as we work through our flaws together.

Paraclete (Holy Spirit) not to be confused with parakeet (loud obnoxious bird) -although that could be fun, too. "Sqaaaawk, stop being lazy, sqaaaawk"


Tim said...

It's hard to believe that the kids have any character flaws with a perfect father like me. If only one day I can get this family into shape so they, too, can be perfectly flawless in every way. Whoops, gotta go. Dodging lightning bolts. (cough, cough)

Troy & Tara Livesay said...

LOL ... Tim and Troy would love each other. I think it is best if we make sure they NEVER meet.


nancy said...

Hang in there guys. When my son was a teenager and doing typical non godly teenager kinds of things it was hard to imagine him serving God and loving the Lord. He was not all that thrilled about the things of God but now that he's an adult he has chosen to follow God and is involved in his church and loving him. It is an incredible feeling to see you kid do that, not because mom and dad want it or are dragging them along, but because they choose it for themselves. Keep being the perfect role model for them (Lord knows I was) Ok. Tim the lightning bolts are coming this way too. At least they don't have far to travel up the street. And seriously keep giving them over to God. You know the amazing thing about the whole thing is that they are not God's grandkids. They are His kids. So as much as you want it for them, He wants it even more.
They are great kids by the way.
Minus the snots of course.