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,
How wonderful the world would be without the guilt, shame and judgement. Sometimes as a momma, I just want to jump out of my own head! Such harshness can exist there, such judgement, such self doubt. Not all days are like this, and I have noticed that when I am successful outwardly (letting go of judgement of others, surrounding them in love), I automatically do the same inwardly. I love the little boy in this story, there is so much purity there. Thank you for this, I will be holding it with me. 🙂
thank you carrie!
I have a friend who once said in a prayer, “that we may be able to suspend for a moment our inner critic” and I thought it was such a lovely desire, one I share.
I haven’t read the article, but wanted to respond that after a week away from my family for a friend’s wedding and what turned out to be utter refreshment of my spirit, I came home so happy but it was only a few days I found myself back in some familiar patterns leading me to despair. I woke in the middle of the night last night and in meditative silence and journaling was able to see that I am upset and angry with my boys for every little fault and misbehavior because I am upset and angry with MYSELF each time I don’t react perfectly to them. It was surprising to realize that my inner demand of perfection for myself is perhaps a root of my own anger and discontent. Isn’t that interesting? How differently could I behave if I started with an acceptance of myself? How differently could my boys behave in an atmosphere of acceptance rather than one that is almost waiting for a mistake to point out. This became so obvious to me because the time I spent away was with a dear friend who affords me such total acceptance, I felt like I found myself again in ways I had forgotten who I even was. I realize this unfolding and rising up of my SELF happened in large part because of this environment of acceptance. There was no risk, really, no assumption of possible failure; only love and pure belief that I am a wonderful gifted woman, faults and all. It was refreshing and invigorating and empowering.
This is the work I have to do now…to recognize how often I refuse to accept myself, others, my own children in each moment as they are. And to begin to shift into acceptance, and open more and more to love.
as always, Carrie, thanks for sharing your heart here on the blogosphere!:), and always calling us to something higher.
I think of a very influential book in my life called “Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness” by Jerry C. Cook.
with love to you!
Thank you so much for sharing…that was so beautiful and full of truth! Parenting is so much about ourselves.