parenting yourself {yes, she's you}

it had been a while since i had seen her. her little girl scooted off across the room and she fed raisins to the one still strapped in. she said, "i'm exhausted. these two have all the energy in the world and I have none."

she went on to describe her three year old and what i heard was a description of her very self. being on the outside, i looked at her and said, "it's like parenting yourself."

another friend and i reconnected on the phone and she's in that stage of no sleep, starbucks drive-thrus, and just-maybe-mascara days. without complaining, she described how the girl doesn't sleep and yet how delightful she was. i said with a smirk, "it's like parenting yourself."

it's you you're raising.

it's your mannerisms.

that very weakness is alive and active in her.

your thing that haunts and returns again and again is evident in his behavior.

while this isn't rocket science, how oft we forget that they have our dna. they are bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh.

i find myself shaking my head wondering how they could do that.

what on earth got into them? laughter wells from within.
i did!

i'm parenting myself.

and to be honest with you with little ones on your hips and nap time a scheduled event in your day,

i didn't discover this obvious reality

until they could stomp their feet in anger and have the nerve to talk back.

here's 4 ways i'm learning to parent myself...

1. pray offensively and defensively.

that very issue that is a strength, pray every moment you witness it, that God will use it for good.

it's the way he can remember details of a football game two years ago.

it's the sweetest compassion he has when his friend can't do the monkey bars.

pray for it to snowball into something amazing God can use for His purposes.

yet, that very issue that is a weakness, pray God will use it to build their character.

the anger that leads to a shouted-out-impatient-ugly dart at his teammate.

the competition that only exudes happiness if he wins. otherwise, all is lost.

utter this prayer, "Oh Loving God, use this very thing to keep them always looking and hoping in You."

2. lavish grace.

you push them.

dream up your dreams for their lives.

you have expectations for them.

they fail you.

it's what you lacked that you push on them, both good and bad.

throw out your dreams, your expectations, your failures. straight into the waste. and with big gallon jugs, lavish grace.

pour over them what they don't deserve. we tend to be more on the cautious side of grace, rather than the generous side.

let each of them hear your cheers. not your fears.

3. be quick to listen.

slow to speak. slow to get angry. {James 1.19}

a pilgreen mantra.

better yet, a broken record, but one we hope will be working soon.

we jump to conclusions. we hasten to assume.

what happens when we zip our lips and let them speak?

what would happen if we chose wisely the words we'd use for the day? as if they're numbered?

4. move over.

you and me, we've had our childhood.

instead of pulling them into ours, jump into theirs.

see the world as they see it.

let them be kids. earn the grass stains. build the forts. try on your lipstick. wear spaghetti in their hair.

for if we had it to do over again, we'd be more free, wouldn't we?

what do you see in your kids that it so you?

it's not deja vu. post originally published in early 2013.