“He loves you for who you are. He just wants to see you try.”
I have said some variations of those words so often in the 20 years of parenting. There is so much meaning in that message. Hearing it from the pulpit from the mouth of the priest this morning gave me a renewed appreciation of its importance.
As adults, we are still trying to learn this lesson. We don’t have to be perfect in order to receive God’s love – we just have to show up and say yes. Often when we don’t feel worthy, we stop showing up. We stop trying it. If we can’t do something perfectly sometimes we don’t even attempt it.
For some of us, this pattern was established in childhood. It can be a result of our desire not to disappoint our parents. Human fatherhood sets the template for an openness to receive God’s fatherly love and grace, even in the struggle – and perhaps especially in the struggle.
In Luke 11:46 Jesus admonishes the teachers saying “You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.”
Do you help your children to carry the burdens? This doesn’t mean removing the burdens – children need to learn to carry their loads. But how are you helping them to carry those burdens? Do you offer your children the tools and support they need to achieve the goals you have set? How do you respond when they struggle to meet your expectations? We have to encourage them to try without fear of failure. This is how we help to foster courage.
One of the ways we can best support our children, is by being open to their requests for help. This means being physically present and emotionally available. It means you put your phone away when they come into the room (not just put it aside). Ask them open- ended questions when you have them alone in the car. Inquire as to how you can help them during the week. Invite them to spend time with you doing something – anything (!). Pray for them every day and ask them if they have any specific intentions for those prayers.
What you do matters. Just as it applies to our children, so too does the message apply to you. Parenting isn’t something you will do perfectly. God doesn’t expect that. He just wants you to try. Come to the Lord, invite Him into your day, and ask His help on this parenting journey. For more on how to best support your children as they grow check out my old blog here.