I skipped church last Sunday with one of my kids.
Because sometimes it’s more sacred to sacrifice what you should do for what you need to do.
So, we did something important: we stayed in our pajamas and divided up the secret chocolate stash and we talked.
I think I needed the quiet and space as much as my kid did.
I waited and resisted the urge to fill up the silence.
After some chatting, this came out: “Sometimes I just want to know why you’re so hard on me? Some days everything is hard- school, life, friends, and home.”
It wasn’t an easy thing to hear.
But I couldn’t deny it or make light of the question. Because my child was absolutely right. I am hard on my kids. I expect a lot. I require more than some parents. I am many things to my kids–I love them fiercely, forgive them readily, believe in them wholeheartedly, but I also expect a lot of them.
I could make things easier. I could see all the homework my kids bring home and not ask for their help with dinner. I could give them more money instead of making them work for most of what I give them. I could rush to their side every time they forget something and fix their problems so they don’t struggle. I could sit in an hour carline everyday because they don’t like riding the bus. I could make their life a lot easier.
But if my goal was to make their life easy, I wouldn’t be the mom I’m called to be. It’s my job to prepare my kids for life and the future. And if I turn everything they think is hard into an easier road, I haven’t done either.
I don’t know what life or the future will bring my kids, but I can almost guarantee it won’t always be easy.
There will probably be heartache and struggle and pain mixed with joy, achievement and uncertainty. And even more likely? I won’t be able to protect them from any of it.
Last week, I read this disturbing article about why millennials are getting fired. One of the main reasons is that young adults want their bosses to be their parents. And I think that probably stems from parents who were afraid to be their children’s bosses. The other culprits were blamed on a lack of hard work and a desire to be happy all the time.
And then another article took the Internet by storm from a pediatrician who said, “A parent’s job is to teach children right from wrong, teach them the meaning of life and keep their children safe. In doing that job, you’re going to do a lot of things a child won’t approve of and not understand,” he said. Sometimes, you have to be the bad guy.”
He goes on to say “parents should focus on helping children develop skills such as self-control, humility and conscientiousness, meaning they think of people other than themselves. Those things are the biggest predictors of future success in adulthood, he said, not education or affluence.”
I gave my child sitting across from me a compassionate look because in my heart I want her life to be easy, but in my gut easiest isn’t always best. If I make everything in my children’s childhood easy, what will happen when life gets hard?
Because life will get hard. And some seasons will be harder than they can imagine.
And if I’ve prepared them to dig in their heels when things don’t go their way and develop grit to withstand life’s storm and ultimately helped them to turn to God instead of me, I’ve fulfilled my calling as their mother.
And that’s why I won’t give my kids an easy life.