I remember the conversation well…
the four of us standing in our parents’ kitchen
discussing the merits of the mancub.
“How did you do it?” my brother asked.
“We didn’t,” I answered. “God did.
Any good you see in him is because of God’s
grace and mercy in his life.”
“But, it’s good parenting too.” he finished.
Six months ago we had this conversation,
my brother, my sister in law, my man, and myself,
and I’ve replayed it a million times or more
in the quiet of my mind.
Something about this conversation…
something rubbed my subconscious
much like a grain of sand trapped in an oyster.
I turned that grain of sand in my mind
over and over and over again.
I turned it over when my kids did what they were told,
and again, when it seemed everything I asked
became a full-fledged war.
I returned to that conversation again and again,
sometimes thinking “yes! maybe it’s just our good parenting!”
And, other times…
“How did we suddenly go wrong?” or
“We’ve blown it, again!”
Last week, I sat in the cool Wisconsin breeze
with my sister.
Once again, revisiting that conversation.
Together, we found a pearl of wisdom
caught up in that memory.
“Good parenting” is built on shifting sand….
Good parenting is arbitrary.
What is good to you, may or may not be good to me,
and neither may be good to our children.
Good parenting isn’t my job.
My job is to take them by the hand
and lead them in the way of the Master (Eph 6:4 msg).
Good parenting is fleeting.
We are in our children’s lives as an authority
for such a brief time.
What they do with their lives is between them
and God… not me.
Good parenting isn’t in my nature.
I am a sinner saved by grace,
and I am lousy at this job.
I blow it with my kids every single day.
Looking back, I think I know what my brother meant
those weeks ago and I’m confident
he and I are on the same page.
I don’t fault him.
Instead, these months later, I am grateful
for that conversation on a cold winter’s day.
For as it rubbed over and over in my mind,
it taught me a big life-lesson…
my children belong to God, not to me
and while I can lead and guide to the best of my ability,
I am not a good parent,