i was raised, if possible, without discipline. couple that with indulgent, sacrificial love from both parents and that’s the parenting style i grew up in.
i’m the result of it and my environment and the events unforseen that parents could not control and of god. god’s involvement, deciding, grace, protection and unseen hand.
when it came to raising up my own children and discipline, really, i was just winging it.
attachment parenting, skin on skin, sharing sleep, nursing until whenever; these things made sense, sounded like home. but a few years into motherhood, i hit up against the cure to parenting’s ills – child training.
in the hands of a mature, unsullied, pious, luminous, kind, good manager, patient, frugal soul; child training just might produce a heart for god, but i’m still not convinced.
i tried on those clothes, i pulled on the pants one leg at a time. i laced up the shoes.
and it brought things.
less empathy, higher expectations, a focus on my will versus the child’s, physical punishment, fear, tears, anger indulged, frustration, pride, blame, behavior management, competition, anxiety and occasionally a child obeying the first time asked.
it took the holy spirit to shake me out of it.
it took me peering through the crack of her bedroom doorway holding a spank spoon waiting for a four-year-old daughter, whose face was red and wet with tears already, waiting for her to disobey and get out of that bed so that i could go in and hit her again.
jesus’ kind heart for me, for her, in that moment, let the scales fall.
perspective zoomed back and i saw crystal clear the reality of what my choices were creating and i was horrified. those small years of training came crashing down in an instant.
i rushed in and gathered her up from pink blankets.
“i’m so sorry, mazzy.”
she cried into my shoulder, into my embrace and as i wept apoogies she spoke through her tears.
“it’s okay, mom. it’s okay.”
and it is okay.
it’s okay to be wrong about parenting, to try on clothes that don’t fit and to take them off again.
children enter the kingdom.
it’s to such as these that it belongs.
the wellspring of forgiveness, of grace, of love that they have for a repentant parent never ceases to take my breath away. and every time their soft words pardon i see again how little i know of forgiveness.
photos ~ amykimballphotography