"The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." -Robert Burns
I love this little boy. Kenny Chesney has a song with lyrics that say, "There goes my life, there goes my future, my everything.." And I can say I truly know how that feels. A child changes your life; it is suddenly not about you at all anymore. Your child is your everything.
With that said, I have been contemplating a rather serious topic for something I have learned. I've taken some time to think about it and pray about it before posting. In Galatians 6:14, Paul says, "May I not boast in anything except in the cross of our Lord Jesus." Things such as lying, cheating, and stealing are rather straightforward and clear. We know for certain when we are doing them or when we are not. However, the most cleverly-disguised issue we all find ourselves in is pride. It can be hidden in the very best intentions.
I have had a variety of conversations with my parents recently about generational differences in parenting. My mother was in Florida visiting her friend's mother who commented that it is interesting how people of my generation tend to ask "why" more often when parenting. Her granddaughter will wonder why her son is crying. And, being from another generation, she said she doesn't recall wondering why her babies cried. She just chalked it up to "babies cry" and moved on with life.
Once while my parents were visiting, we got into a conversation of breast feeding versus bottle feeding. My dad isn't sure what his mother did, but he was pretty certain that during the time he was a baby, bottle feeding was actually more popular. Since his parents are not around to answer it and my mom's mother wouldn't be able to tell us now, we asked a lady we know from the same generation. She had bottle fed her children. We took a guess, from a story that my grandmother told about a "bottle hitting the floor," that both my mom and her brother were formula fed. During the 1980s, when I was a baby, things had turned the other way and more babies were breast fed. We actually looked this up online to find it (however, I no longer know where it was we found the information).
Anyway, the point is, styles of parenting are changing all of the time. As a mother who loves her son, I want what is BEST for him. I don't want to mess up. But who does? As a parent, I have also become more acutely aware of the fact that the vast majority of parents love their children more than their children will know. Yes, there are a few who leave much to be desired. Yet, most really do care deeply for their children and want what is best for them.
But it is easy, in this seemingly wonderful attempt of loving, to become arrogant and proud. If I am honest with myself, coated underneath "I want to do what is best for my child," I am also partaking in the thoughts "I will do things right." "I will do things better." So, that leaves the question, who did it wrong? Am I judging others who aren't doing things the way that I am? And if I think the way I am doing something is so good, I really need to be careful, because there is pride hidden in that.
Many (if not almost everyone) knows that "pride comes before the fall." In the movie "I am Sam" an attorney tries to prove that he is not fit to father his daughter because he stated he made "mistakes that were huge." To this, his attorney fires back, "didn't you feel as a parent that you made mistakes, mistakes that were huge?" I LOVE this part of the movie because it makes a valid point, who is to say they truly know better? Everyone will feel, despite great attempts to be the "perfect" parent, that they made "mistakes that were huge."
So, instead of striving to do things a certain way in the name of "what is best for my child," I am going to aim to start taking it one day at a time knowing I will mess up. Because really, if I am honest with myself, I am not really thinking about what is best for my child, I am thinking about being the best and that, my friends, is nothing more than selfish pride. God will guide me to do what is best and humble me through it because nobody can parent perfectly except Him.