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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Conscious Parenting

This weekend I went to a Bev Bradley women's retreat. I had never heard of her until a few months ago, and when I did, there was a flood of positive praise. "She's so authentic." "She truly shares her heart." "You'll be amazed at how the Spirit speaks through her." So, needless to say, I went with high expectations. I wasn't disappointed. 

I'm not really a charismatic worshiper. I often see people around me during worship at church (and at retreats) with their hands raised, echoing sounds of agreement during prayers. I used to feel uncomfortable, coming from a traditional background, but I've come to realize that we each have different ways of worshiping our Creator. Some of us sit quietly and ponder our relationship with God, while others love to shout their praise from the rooftops (or in a church service). Or some may enjoy both. How boring it would be if we all worshiped the same way! 

Amidst moments of deep connection with the Lord this weekend, I discovered something about myself. I am rarely a conscious parent. I don't think I'm a bad parent, but I tend to "check out" a lot in order to get through my day. "What do you mean?", you may ask. Well, my "unconscious" parenting can manifest itself in a number of ways: 

*Saying "uh-huh" when I really have no clue what my child just said to me.
*Jumping the gun on discipline since I often don't want to sit and listen to a long explanation for behavior.
*Dismissing crying and getting irritated when the kids aren't molding into the little box I've created.
*Spouting off a response quickly when I should pause and ask the Lord to reveal to me what may be the best way to respond to a situation.

These are just a few, and the first three weren't even brought up at the retreat. The last one, though, was one of the most important nuggets of truth I learned over the weekend. 

I also learned that the Lord never shames us, and that if I am hearing those "guilty voices" in my head: "You're going to fail." "You're just like your dad." "Your kids are going to go astray," etc. (which, by the way, I hear all the time) I'm not hearing the voice of my Father in Heaven. That means I'm hearing the voice of my enemy; God's enemy: Satan himself. When I hear those things I need to flee from those lies and run to His truth. By the way, I really don't hear voices. I'm no Schizophrenic, I just don't know a better way of saying what I want to say.

It's a short summary of a truly life-changing realization: I can't parent successfully without continually asking the Lord for wisdom throughout the day. I am a broken person, and if I were to think I can raise whole children on my own, I would be sorely mistaken. And so, I am now a conscious parent. I'm still a work-in-progress, but a conscious work-in-progress, nonetheless. I'll still have the "uh-huh" response sometimes, I'm sure. I'll still be quick to judge my kids' behaviors at times. But I am now consciously attempting to be their mom instead of hurrying through my day, trying to get to bedtime.


Pappy said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful, blessed time. Shanti, don't worry about making mistakes. All parents do. I have found that all those horrible mistakes I made are mostly not remembered by my kids. And best of all, they both turned out just fine in spite of all my "awful" misapplications of parenting knowledge.

Britts said...

I love that--conscious parenting...Oh to be more conscious in so many aspects of my life! Good word. Thanks for sharing...

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