I love gaining insight. Whether listening to a podcast, a speaker, or reading a book, I love to come away with understanding that I didn’t have before. Tonight I was listening to a podcast about parenting and defiance (something we all deal with as parents I am sure), and as I listened to the speaker, I came across a quote that I just thought was so profound. The quote was, “A parent who is not calm themselves, cannot calm their child down.” It hit me like a ton of bricks. Granted, I do have a bit of a temper, and can be a little hot-headed, but how many times have I lashed out at my children when they haven’t listened to me, or whatever it may be, and made the situation that much worse. Me getting worked up, and reacting out of that DOES NOT calm my child down at all. If only I would just take a step back and take a moment to breathe, how much better would the situation go.
Another point was brought to my attention as I was listening to this podcast. There is one thing that can cause us to act this way to make a situation much more stressful, for parents and kids alike, and that is fear. If I really think about it, it is so true for me in my parenting. You come to that point with your child who isn’t doing what you want them to, and the fear kicks in. Whether it is fear of not being in control, a mistake, screwing your kid up, or just not knowing what to do in the moment, it can be what drives us to over-react. When you are fearful, it is almost impossible to remain calm. But I don’t want this to be what defines my parenting.
The solution for me is this…….Jesus. It seems to be a common theme in the bible, the Lord telling us not to be afraid. And a lot of times, He commands it, not just politely asking us if we will. The story for me that comes to mind is when the disciples and Jesus are in a boat at sea, and there is a storm that comes up. I can’t imagine how fearful the disciples must have been. But Jesus was sleeping, and they had to wake him up. And when they wake Him up, all He does is speak, and He is able to calm the storm. If the same God who tells me not to fear, is the one with just words, is able to calm a storm…..I want to listen. Not that I will respond perfectly every time one of my kids starts acting out, but that when I feel the storm coming on, that I would take a step back, and ask the one who calms the storm to help me navigate through the situation. And that I would make it a habit to be aware of when fear is taking over, and focus on the one who diminishes it. With His help, I believe I can learn to stay calm in my parenting.