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I’ll come right out and say it-parenting is hard. I’m sure all of you know that! It is the most exhausting, yet rewarding thing I have ever done. I’m an idealist, so I have a picture in my head of exactly how I’d like my parenting to be, but let’s be real- I fail. Daily. And when I fail, I can really beat myself up about it, but this year, I’m working on changing my focus. I will never be a perfect parent, so my goal is to build a lifegiving legacy for our family.
To me, creating a lifegiving legacy means working each and every day to show love, be patient, give grace, and encourage one another. Of course, that also includes correction when necessary, but focusing more on connection and guidance. This also includes remembering we as parents need to set the example. Kids will do as they see, not as we say. In Mom Heart Moments, Sally Clarkson says, “A legacy of good, kind, restoring, encouraging words will build souls and create memories of love, which sink into their very being. Conversely, words of complaint and condemnation drive our children, spouse, friends, and others far from us.” I firmly believe kids (or anyone for that matter) do better when they feel better. Sally Clarkson also says, “We must remind ourselves that if we sow angry, condemning, guilt-producing words, we will produce children who feel hurt, condemned, guilty, criticized, and unloved.” On the other hand, she says, “And if we sow seeds of love, choosing to be kind, learning to be gentle, and showing respect, we will empower our children to have strong relationships. All of this must be taught, modeled, and then corrected again and again.” When it comes to a family legacy, we will reap what we sow. In our family, we will choose to love one another and build each other up.
This does not mean that we are perfect at this each day. There are poor attitudes, lack of patience, and bickering from children AND parents. What’s important is we use those moments to model seeking forgiveness and extending grace to one another. I can be quick to criticize or feel impatient, but if I pause, correct/guide/train in a respectful manner while also providing encouragement, my children respond and do much better than if I correct them harshly or criticize them. I think a lot of adults could benefit from this as well!
Building a lifegiving legacy in our family is something that requires constant effort. It is a battle against one’s flesh to choose love, patience, gentle guidance and correction, and encouragement over anger, harsh correction, impatience, and criticism. My hope is that creating a lifegiving environment in our home will spur our children to do the same as adults, and this will create a multigenerational lifegiving family legacy. I hope our children grow into teens and adults who choose kindness, encouragement, and love, and I hope we as adults can do the same for other adults. The world needs it.
Here is the link to Sally Clarkson’s book Mom Heart Moments for anyone interested. It has been such an encouragement to me.