Today’s blog post is an excerpt from my upcoming book, The SuperMom Myth: Conquering the Dirty Villains of Motherhood (Shiloh Run Press), which releases December 1. Be sure to check out this week’s Share Giveaway at the end of the story!
She mounted the twisted iron ladder to the monkey bars. Surely she could slip and smack her nose. So I yelled to my daughter before she reached the second rung. “Be careful!”
Later she danced in the living room, twirling to her heart’s content. “Be careful,” I warned. “You’ll get dizzy.” In my mind, every piece of furniture stood waiting to collide with her head.
At dinnertime, she asked to pour the milk herself. I promise I won’t spill, she said. “All right,” I acquiesced, and yet the caution flag flew out of my mouth for the hundredth time that day. “Please—be careful.” Accidents are not on my agenda today!
Do you say it, too? Two common, careless words, a staple battle cry in the loving mother’s lexicon.
Please, would you just be careful?
What are we so afraid of?
Whether you’ve been parenting for a decade or a day, you know firsthand how momma-bear instincts run deep and wide. We moms sniff out danger at every turn, fiercely protecting our cubs from threats both real and imagined. Hey, it’s our job, right? God entrusted these children to our care, so by golly, we are determined not to mess it up.
Therefore we teach our kids to be cautious. But do they also know how to be brave?
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).
In recent years, I’ve come to realize the phrase “be careful” can do more harm than good. Yes, we want to instill a sense of awareness in our children, and it is our duty as parents to nurture and protect—to a certain degree. But isn’t it also our job to empower our children? To provide for them a launchpad from which they’ll jump into the skins God designed for them?
Worry Woman can choke the life from both parent and child faster than any other dirty villain we face. Worry inhibits our ability to enjoy our children, and it instills in our kids a sense of fear that hinders them from exploring beyond their parents’ emotional confines. Do you enjoy worrying? I sure hope not. Does it make you feel strong? More likely it weakens your spirit. So why would we purposely impart this same debility to our children?
We wouldn’t. And that’s the problem. Often we’re not aware of Worry Woman’s effect on our kids until the damage has already been done.
If your goal is to raise a timid child, I can offer a few tips—from experience.
- Say, “Be careful,” more than you say, “I believe in you.”
- Pray for your child’s safety more than you pray for her character.
- Fear the world more than you trust God.
Terrible, isn’t it? I’m fanatical about keeping my children safe. I want to spare them pain. Yet, beneath my anxious surface, what I really want most for them is faith—to love and follow Christ with unswerving devotion. That kind of life is meaningful beyond measure, but it may not necessarily be safe.
Sometimes God asks us to take risks. Bold faith requires stretching beyond what’s comfortable or certain. What if God’s plan for our children involves traveling to faraway places? What if it requires chasing an impossible dream or discovering a cure for cancer or jumping out of airplanes?
What if they are to become parents themselves? Such a calling is not for the faint of heart. Our kids are going to need some serious moxie. And how will they get it if we never let them taste adventure?
The process of instilling courage in our kids begins with breaking free from our own worry woes. From now on, let’s change that battle cry from “Be careful” to “Be brave!”
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Week 4 of The SuperMom Myth Share Giveaway
This time of year, I start getting serious about researching Christmas gifts for my girls online. It’s just easier to shop on Amazon and Barnes & Noble from the comfort of my cushy chair in the family room—after the kids are in bed and the stores are closed. So if you’re a busy mom like me (and I know you are), then you can definitely appreciate this week’s Share Giveaway prize—a $50 Amazon gift card!
To enter, choose your favorite tasks from the Rafflecopter form below. (If you’re reading this on e-mail and you can’t see the form, just click the link that says “A Rafflecopter giveaway” to view all the choices). The more you share about The SuperMom Myth, the more chances you have to win—and the more moms like us we can encourage with the love of Jesus. Thanks for sharing!