Yes, oh yes!!!
If you are a parent.... you are in battle!! There is no doubt about it. Along with the precious moments you would not trade for anything... comes the challenges that send you running for the chocolate and the closest exit!!!
Nothing I mean NOTHING could have prepared me for becoming a full time, 24 hours, 7 day a week, 365 day a year parent!! You will not completely "Get it" until you become a parent and experience the plethora of treasures and trauma that are in store for you.
In the nearly 14 years I have been a mama, God has taught me MANY, MANY things!! WAAAY too many to list on this post, however, I found the old and faithful saying to be absolutely true... "PICK YOUR BATTLES!"
We really can apply this to every are of our lives, however, I am going to focus in our parenting for this lovely post!
Every parent has heard it said... probably over and over again... pick your battles, pick your battles, pick your battles!
YES! You absolutely need to if you want to survive and outlast your children because as I am sure you have already learned... they can be stubborn, resourceful and relentless little creatures!!
Whatever battle you are going to pick... you better be ready to fight to win because if you default and let them have the victory... you only set yourself up for a greater battle the next round in the ring!
So.. how does one know what battles to pick?
This is the million dollar question that has a pretty significant answer!
Prior to giving our lives to Christ, we had no real basis or foundation for our parenting decisions or battle picking. We kind of just focused in on what WE thought was important and was going to raise our children to be the responsible and kind adults we hoped for.
Yes... He came and blew a lot of my preconceived parenting ideas out of the water. He revealed to me the real battles I need to be picking and that wasting my time on the petty battles is only exhausting me to the point I have no energy left for the things that matter most.
So... today I will share with you... the battles we have chosen to pick in our home..... and ones we laid to rest......
Our battles revolve around ONE main focus..... God. In order to assess what battles you desire to pick with your children... you truly need to make a mission statement for your parenting. What is your mission as a parent? What is the end result you want to see?
For us... it is God fearing, responsible, respectful adults with kind and giving hearts that long to serve the Lord. That's it. That is success to Garrick and I. After truly thinking about it.... we assessed that we don't care what our children choose to do with their lives as long as.... they are responsible.... respectful, kind, giving and long to serve God.
We could now begin focusing on the battles we truly needed to pick with our children... here are a list of battles we assessed were not worth the picking....
1. Straight A's- Yes, we want our children to work hard and put forth as much effort as possible with their grades, however, at the end of their lives, when they stand before God. straight A's will not matter. If their goal is to become a Dr. to save lives one day.... they will naturally have the desire to work hard in school. We don't pick this battle. We monitor their grades and as long as we know they are trying and doing their best and maintaining "acceptable" grades.... we let it go.
2. Clothing- Yes, we rarely pick this battle. It can be exhausting and never ending. We do not allow immodest dressing, nor offensive dressing. Nor would we allow anything that would not be acceptable in the eyes of God, however, if my child wants to wear sweatpants and t-shirts every day or a swimsuit with snow boots around the house.... I simply don't care. My girls have walked around town in dress up dresses and plastic shoes.... and I couldn't care less. I have no energy for the clothing battles and at the end of their life..... it simply won't matter.
3. Perfectly Tidy Rooms- Okay.... nothing smelly or offensive, however, trying to get a child to appreciate an immaculate room is plainly frustrating and exhausting! Yes, we make them keep their rooms somewhat clean, but messiness comes with children and I don't have the energy to fight this daily. Once again... at the end of their life... God will not care if they kept an immaculate room!
So... what battles do we pick?
1. Heart Issues... ALWAYS- If our child misbehaves, makes a bad choice or is disobedient in any way, we take this very seriously. Respect and kindness and obedience are some of our number one goals. We will not tolerate disrespect in any way, shape or form, especially toward authority figures. This battle is picked probably most often among all. Not addressing this issue WILL have long term negative effects in their life and at the end of their life.... it will matter greatly to God the way they treated other people. When we go to school conferences... our very FIRST question is not how they are doing academically..... but how is their conduct? As long as my child is kind and respectful to the teacher, I could care less if they are not at the top of the class.
2. Obedience- Our children are required to be obedient.... it doesn't matter if it is the tiniest of things such as asking them to pick something up off the floor. If we ask it or request it.... it needs to be done. This battle can be a REAL battle.... but we fight it to win it. We surely have our losing moments.... but we never give up the fight. This is another issue that WILL matter at the end of their life. If they can not be obedient for their parents... we have little hope they will be obedient to God.
3. Lying- Lying is absolutely, unacceptable! Unfortunately, you do not always know if your child is lying, however, we usually have a pretty good idea! It is nipped ASAP! We try to approach it as lovingly and as patiently as possible, with deceit and lying is a horrible habit for children to attain and very difficult to break them of. Our goal is to teach them.... as Christ did... The truth will set you free!! Honesty will ALWAYS reap the most benefits, even if it is initially difficult. Lying is evil to me..... it was the way the first sin was committed and there is nothing that kills someones integrity faster than being seen as a liar! If you are not an honest person.... there is no true foundation to you as a person. No one will ever know... who you really are.
So, these are just a few! I could go on! But these are our number one focuses and battles! Everything else... God will take care of!
I pray... today.... that you are able to assess your true battles... put your energy toward those... and learn to enjoy the other precious parenting moments!
Peace and blessings