Thursday, July 27, 2006

Imitation

. . . is the highest form of flattery, right? I was reminded of this phrase when I came across this old post when I was doing my categories.

But last week, I was reminded by my children that imitation is the highest form of conviction. My seven year old daughter was sitting beside me at the table eating lunch, when I heard, "Ooooh, I am so mad," uttered with furrowed brow and through clenched teeth. Unfortunately, that sounded too familiar. Even more unfortunately, I am usually saying it to her, when I've reached my level of frustration with disobedience or careless acts, which lead to messes or crying little brothers, or saddest of all, out of my own frustration with being bothered. What was making her so mad, you might ask? Her fish sticks kept coming out of the coating when she was trying to eat them.

Convicted.

I have been reading Building the Christian Family You Never Had (and I plan to post a full review when I am finished), but from it, I have learned that although I really had a perfectly fine upbringing for which I am thankful, there are things that I have to acknowledge that were problems, such as yelling as a normal mode of communication. I have to deal with them through daily prayer and lean only on Jesus' loving arms and ability to make my reactions like his, before I not only damage this generation of children I am parenting, but the next as they imitate me as they raise their own children.

I am not afraid to apologize for speaking out in anger. An apology assures Amanda that I know that she does not deserve to be spoken to in that way, but it doesn't take away the damage done by harsh words. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit brought me under conviction about this, and so now when I do it, I immediately repent, and feel saddened by my sin. I don't know if I felt that sorrow five or six years ago. So, I've made progress. With God's help, I even have to apologize less than I did last year.

I'd love for the cycle to stop with me. I'm so thankful for forgiving children, understanding friends who don't judge me harshly, because they've either been there or are struggling with their own parenting imperfections as well, and for God's grace that helps me not to feel so mired in sin that I just give up instead of pressing forward.

7 comments:

Katrina said...

Children are so forgiving and so resilient... and I'm definitely thankful for that, since I am so often in need of forgiveness and do-overs. The fact that you are so quick to apologize is wonderful. I try to do the same with Camden, and one reason is because I do not remember my parents ever apologizing to me, and that's something that I know I need to do, and want to pass on as a value to my kids. Good post!

e-Mom said...

An honest post! Thanks for sharing so transparently. I think most Moms can identify with you in this
area... I know I can!

I intend to read DeMuth's book... I keep hearing good things about it, thanks.

Dianne said...

I have to say of the two of us, my husband is usually the quicker to apologize. But sometimes we practically bump into each other on the way to making things right. I think it's very important for kids to see their parents able to apologize and make things right. God doesn't expect us to be perfect, only growing.

relevantgirl said...

Lovely post, and so true. Thanks for linking to the book, too!

I have to apologize a lot! But I'm utterly grateful for the grace of my children and husband.

Jen3 @ Amazing Trips said...

Oh, it's SO difficult being human sometimes ... isn't it?! Our children are just starting to imitate our actions and I am constantly reminding myself "Watch what you say. Watch what you do." There's nothing quite as motivating to be a GOOD person - like having 3 little sets of eyes on you, emulating your behavior.

This is a great post. Thank you for the reminder - and thanks for dropping by my WFMW! :)

Jeannine said...

I wish my children would imitate more of my good points and less of my bad points though.

I can always tell when my attitude toward my husband isn't what it should be because our children all start acting and talking in the same way--it's really convicting.

Laura said...

I have to remember to remind myself to apologize as well. The words "I'm sorry" fall on deaf ears to me as I must have heard it several times a day after being abused in some manner. Nothing ever changed. So I hesitate now to apologize to others. I love what you said though about how you're growing and can see that growth through the lessening number of apologies you're having to make.

I tremble at the thought of knowing that the days of being imitated so specifically are right around the corner. I know I have so much to learn and with such a big learning curve...apologies will most certainly be in order. May I too someday say that I grew to a place where I was having to apologize less for the same mistake.