Yesterday was one of those days. The girls and I were running errands. It was hot and humid, and the day had not gotten off to a very good start.
As we struggled through Wal-Mart, I felt incredibly frustrated. The girls were feeling as tired and disgruntled as I was. I told my mom on the phone that it seemed like there was no way to redeem the day, no chance for a fresh start.
On the way home, I realized we needed to stop by a local bookstore that is going out of business. With only a few days left before the doors closed permanently, I wanted to see if there were any items that could be useful for our coming school year. We would just do a quick walk-through of the store and then head home so I could tackle a long list of things that needed to be done there.
An hour and a half later, we emerged from the bookstore. As we left for home, M said, “What a fun day we’re having!”
What changed? Instead of being task oriented, rushing through the bookstore, and moving on down the to-do list, I stopped. I saw how excited my girls were by spending time in the bookstore. We looked at tons of books and they played in the play area. And in their minds it was a really fun day.
To be honest, I was still pretty exhausted and burdened by what I needed to do. But that wouldn’t have changed if we had skipped the bookstore. At the end of the day, what my girls remembered was the fun we had together, not the other stuff.
You may be wondering what this has to do with Faith in Parenting. To put it simply, it’s a matter of displaying the fruit of the Spirit. There are days when we all have to rush around town running errands. It’s a part of life. When it comes to our attitudes and our interactions with our children, we have a choice. What will we reflect? Will the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self control of the Holy Spirit be evident to our kids? Or will they see something else?
I’m stepping on my own toes here, because I was not a very good reflection yesterday morning. It was a lot easier to let that fruit shine through when we stopped and did something fun. But the real test was earlier in the day, when life’s responsibilities weren’t so exciting. That’s when we have a great opportunity to let our children see Jesus shine through us. And that’s something I need to work on!
What challenges in parenting are you most aware of right now?