As you continue your parenting journey, how do you want that to go? Will it be trial and error? Just repeat how you were parented? Leave it up to somebody else? My preference is for you to fill every moment of your parenting journey, every interaction with your child, with grace.
“Billy, you careless blankity-blank, spilling your glass of milk again! Go get me that hickory stick. You need a whuppin’” Not much grace there. Billy was careless, but not likely on purpose. Accidents happen. Where’s the grace?
“Cassandra, again? What’s with you and milk? Can we get through one meal without you spilling something? Here, let me clean it up.” Not much grace there either. Shaming is just internal punishment.
“Maggie, come on. Don’t just look at the mess. Go get paper towels and help my clean it up. What am I gonna do with you, girl?” Now that’s grace in action.
Grace is a quality of calm understanding, a safe haven for your children in their storms of life. It involves gentle guidance and meaningful direction. It involves strategic firmness and clear understanding of choices, providing reward for good choices and consequence for bad choices. It results in a very meaningful teachable moment.
Billy’s dad showed anger, power, and control, not grace. Cassandra’s mom showed exasperation, burden, and frustration. Maggie’s mom was purposeful but calm. She involved her daughter in the clean-up, demonstrating meaningful consequences to Maggie’s actions. After the mess was cleaned up and dinner completed, she likely sat Maggie down to go over what had happened, active listen her feelings, and prompt her daughter to identify ways to be more careful in the future. The responses from Billy’s dad and Cassandra’s mom were about them and their feelings. The response from Maggie’s mom was about Maggie, getting the mess cleaned up, and making a teachable moment for her daughter. This is the heart of grace-filled parenting.