By Malissa Custer
Modesty is a subject that comes up a lot in our household. Being surrounded by people who are different than we are on the subject of modesty makes for a lot of discussion. My 4- and 5- year-olds and I have talked all about it. We have taught them to try to abide by what would please God, because that’s what it’s all about……..right?!
No sooner had they grasped the concepts, than my little people started judging others! One minute we are talking about and coloring clothes on “The Little Mermaid” bathtub toy, and the next they are spotting and shouting out immodesty like they are scoring POINTS! Let’s just say they were NOT QUIET either! It was shocking how quickly they took something they felt they had now mastered, and began using it to start condemning others! I found it very interesting to view the process so unhidden- children are so transparent. It must just be human nature.
You see, as adult moms, we are smart enough to know it is UGLY to judge others, so we keep our judgments covered. Bless your heart!
“Those kids have too many toys, we prefer to only let our child have one toy, it teaches contentment!”
“Can you believe Sally isn’t putting Suzie in any music lessons? It is so important. That’s why we put Alan in when he was 6 months old.”
“Can you believe they make their kids share a bedroom, if we have another baby we’re moving”.
“We don’t play dress-up at our house, because I don’t want Cinderella to grow up thinking she is a princess.”
“We had kale chips for Bobby’s birthday and he loved it; no cake needed!”
It’s a way of making ourselves look better, while subtly putting down our “fellow-mom.” How about judging a mom’s parenting, based on the actions of the child? You may not know that child at all- temperament, weaknesses, insecurities, etc. Every child has problems. For example, it is so very unfair to conclude some parents are better, simply because they have a child who is compliant by nature. Oh, and here’s a good one: what about if you drop by and see a friend’s house in a mess? Should we be shocked when something like this makes us feel superior?
Behind all of this is pride, and insecurity too, and every one of us probably have some of these issues! We are all in the same boat: successes one day, and failures, the next. It makes us feel better to find the weaknesses of fellow moms and pick them apart, especially if some of our weaknesses are their strengths. It is sin to speak these things, but also to think them. In a world where committed saints are in the minority, we need to support and encourage each other on this crazy journey. We all have a lot to learn!
Do you see an issue that is a problem? Pray about mentioning it to your friend. Be a blessing to her. Be humble. Be spiritual. Take time to get to know your kids’ friends. Don’t focus on the weaknesses of your friend or her kids, but rather, focus on their strengths and learn from them. And remember, MYOB!
Learning to Laugh
By Barbara Russell
After having 3 children in 3 1/2 years, I was starting to feel stressed! On one particular day, feeling extremely frustrated, I lashed out at my husband, “Can’t you ever take anything SERIOUSLY!” He looked and me and quickly replied, “Can’t you ever LAUGH at anything?”
Although at the moment I was still upset, I later seriously considered his question. Am I a mom who doesn’t know how to laugh? How do my children see me? … As a mom who allows the burdens of life to show on her face; who wears a frown instead of a smile; who displays furrowed eyebrows instead of cheerful eyes; who broadcasts her every emotion instead of a meek and quiet spirit; who stresses out over every problem instead of calmly dealing with the situation; who complains instead of being thankful…CAN I LAUGH??? Or do I let the trials of life burden me down until my laughter is gone.
I was raised with Biblical principles in my home and in my church, but did not repent of my sin and call upon the Lord for salvation, until my children were 5, 6, and 8. I KNEW a lot, IN MY HEAD, on how to raise children, but without the Holy Spirt to guide me, I was failing miserably!
I knew the Bible taught that we are to take care of our body, so I prided myself in the fact that I never drank alcoholic beverages, smoked cigarettes, or took drugs…but when I considered the Bible also says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones,” I realized there were other sins I was committing against my body, like stress, frustration, worry, resentment, coveting, and bitterness. And the list went on!
I noticed that when I had a plan for the day, and was willing to be flexible with that plan, all the while keeping my children’s needs in mind (physical, spiritual, and emotional), we could laugh and have fun together. When discipline and correction were needed, we were serious, but then life went on and EVERYTHING didn’t have to be a BIG DEAL! I learned that teaching and training can be fun, IF I didn’t consider it a burden and wish their little lives away! My mom once told me, “Enjoy every stage of your child’s life, because you never get a ‘Do Over.’”
People who know my adult children may think I went a little overboard on this new-found attitude! They certainly do like to laugh and have fun, and they are maybe even a little crazy at times, but I have seen them have opportunities to share Jesus Christ with people and what He can do for them SIMPLY BECAUSE of the smile on their face, the laughter in their voice, and their ability to have good, clean fun! So many people in this world are sad, and are looking for someone who can tell them how they, too, can be happy!
No one, in my opinion, displayed this better than one of our children’s youth directors. He knew how to laugh and have fun, and was probably the most energetic, diligent witness and servant of the Lord I have ever met! By his example, he taught our children how to care about people, and that serving the Lord is FUN! I am thankful when parents and church leaders can work together in the training of our children!
I learned there are just some things I CANNOT CHANGE! I had to give those burdens to the Lord and LEAVE THEM WITH HIM! I have a plaque on my kitchen wall that reads: “Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.” YES!! I CAN Laugh! “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine!”