This beautiful article about judgment, guilt and parenting is something I feel every parent should read: http://www.lifewaysnorthamerica.org/blog/finding-grace-jennifer-sullivan
My favorite quote is this one:
I held this silent boy for sometime in my mind, carefully turning the situation over and over. I had judged the father, and I also had judged the son. In that moment, the boy taught me that all things are not what they seem. He reminded me we each have a path and our stories are not the same. Instead of passing judgment, I could have surrounded each person with love. How else can we find happiness if we cannot elevate the other? We must also look past our weaknesses, move forward, and enjoy this life fully by discovering our own grace. I can only strive to do the very best in each moment and that is all. Then I must remember that everyone else is doing the same. I have come to realize that life is about balance and grace, not perfection. We would succeed as parents if the lessons we offer our children were about acceptance, forgiveness, and love. I must promise them this.
How many times a day as mothers do we judge ourselves? Fill in the blank: “I am not (patient enough, strong enough, capable enough, smart enough, kind enough”, etc)”
How many times a day do we fill in a blank for other mothers and other families? “If they only did this their children would be (nicer, kinder, etc).” Sometimes, folks, developmental phases are developmental phases and different temperaments are different. There are no difficult children, but there are things we can do to help guide children.
How often do we look in love to help others? To listen in stillness and silence without interjecting our own opinion and thought? To just be there, with that person in their muddled feelings and thoughts?
How often do we speak to others and want to really hear about them and what is living for them in this moment?
How often do we find grace not only for others, but for ourselves?
How many times have we said, “I have done my best, I did my best”? We can always be striving and learning, hopefully that is just a part of life! However, we can also be content and fulfilled knowing we are right where we need to be in this moment.
How do we model acceptance, love, grace and forgiveness for our children?
How do we become self-aware enough to do any of this? How is our own inner work, our own time in stillness and silence? Do we really face our part and responsibility in the difficult situations? Do we see ourselves truly, but also with acceptance and love, as we would any other human beings.
How is our capacity to say “I am sorry.” “I was wrong.” “Please forgive me.” ?
How wonderful this world would be if we could restrain our thoughts and feelings of guilt, shame, and judgment and see what could be borne out of true human freedom in love.
Food for thought today,