“And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3
There is so much a mother has to teach her children that it often becomes overwhelming.
There are the basic things, like how to dress themselves, how to tie their own shoes, how to ride their bikes, and how to change the toilet paper roll (good luck with that last one!).
And, then you add in the big things: teaching them about our God and our faith, teaching them empathy and compassion and how to survive in this crazy world.
It’s no wonder that moms often feel stressed out and hopelessly unqualified for their jobs.
I felt the heavy weight of responsibility as a young mother as I attempted to teach my kids everything they needed to know. As they shut the door, I was often still yelling instructions at them. “Don’t forget to thank the teacher!” “Make sure you eat the healthy parts of your lunch!”
What I often forgot during those years of self-induced stress of epic proportion, was this:
How much my kids could teach me.
When my son was four, I took him to see the play, “The Victor” (about Jesus’ death and resurrection). As the soldiers marched Jesus down the center aisle of the church ridiculing him for saying he was the king of the Jews, my little son began yelling angrily, “He is! He is the king of the Jews!” It was very embarrassing. But, he didn’t care. It was more important to him to get the truth out there.
And, I got schooled in brave faith.
One of my children was mercilessly bullied in school for years. I wanted to go to the school and beat up the bullies, their parents and anyone else I could blame. My child told me in no uncertain terms to stay out of it.
Watching this child march off day after day to a literal war zone taught me more about bravery than anyone else ever has.
I grew up in a gossipy house. My mom loved to “discuss” people and their problems. I used to fall into that same trap, until my daughter changed me with her kind nature. Whenever I would begin to speak about someone she would defend them: “Maybe they were just tired, mom.” Or, “They probably didn’t mean it that way.”
She taught me that I was jumping to conclusions about people without giving them any grace.
I have a jewelry box full of weird costume jewelry. Because none of it is valuable, I just throw it in willy-nilly and forget about it. My granddaughter loves to get the box down. She pulls out each item, caresses it gently and speaks about its beauty. “Oh, isn’t this lovely?” she’ll ask me in a reverent whisper. Suddenly, it seems like I own the most valuable jewels in the world.
And, Nana gets schooled in real value and appreciation.
I’m sure my kids probably had more trouble teaching me things than I did teaching them. But, when I allowed myself to slow down and listen, I learned some very valuable lessons from the very people I was trying to teach.
What have you learned from your kids?