The point of the blog was that the most important thing about my job as a parent is not always what I do, but how I do it.
It can be overwhelming sometimes to think about the type of mother that I want to be compared to the mother that I am in the middle of the daily grind.
However, I know that I have made progress over the last three years and that is encouraging.
Several months ago I came across a chart of character qualities that has given me some practical knowledge to help me become the mother that I want to be.
I originally intended to use it to teach my children about character, but instead I have been studying it myself and trying to cultivate several of the character qualities into the way that I parent.
Here are a few of the qualities and definitions from the chart that I have found most inspiring and useful as a parent.
- Love: Giving to others’ basic needs without having my motive as personal reward. There are several different types of love, but this defines the selfless kind of love required of a parent. Hopefully that love is accompanied by gentleness, which is showing personal care and concern in meeting the needs of others.
- Forgiveness: Clearing the record of those who have wronged me and allowing God to love them through me. I wrote about this a while back when I discovered that I was keeping a record of all of the mistakes and mischief my child got into in a day. It was a lengthy list, probably propelled by my lack of forgiveness and love during a time when he was struggling to do the right thing.
The next four qualities have to do with how we care for and interact with our children on a daily basis.
- Alertness: Being aware of that which is taking place around me so I can have the right response to it. I have been focusing on this one a lot lately. If the kids are in the other room and the little one starts crying, my automatic response is to ask the older one what he did. Even if he really did do something 90-percent of the time, it isn’t fair for me to make that assumption. Instead, I need to be alert and make sure that I am aware of what is going on before I respond.
- Attentiveness: Showing the worth of a person by giving undivided attention to his words and emotions. It is so easy to get distracted, but I have found that attentiveness is one of the most effective ways I can relate to my children. As a matter of fact, the less distracted I am, the better my children behave. There are always other things competing for my attention, but I can show my children their worth by choosing to focus on them instead.
- Flexibility: Not setting my affections on ideas or plans which could be changed by God or others. My plans get changed a lot. I’m learning to just go with it.
- Availability: Making my own schedule and priorities secondary to the wishes of those I am serving. Sometimes getting something done isn’t as important as stopping to meet the need of my child.
The last four qualities have to do with perspective.
- Wisdom: Seeing and responding to life’s situations from God’s frame of reference.
- Diligence: Visualizing each task as a special assignment from the Lord and using all my energies to accomplish it.
- Determination: Purposing to accomplish God’s goals in God’s time—regardless of the opposition.
- Endurance: The inward strength to withstand stress to accomplish God’s best.
As a Christian I try to take a step back and see God’s purposes for me and my children. When I do, it is much easier to practice the other qualities as well.
Becoming the parent I want to be won’t happen without intentional effort and lots of practice, but I am thankful to have found another useful tool to help me along the way.