When we consider the ground that we must cover in parenting, we are humbled to realize that we often fail in the moment. We have all heard the saying “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”. This comes from the Bible in Matthew 26:40-41 (NLT); “Then He (Jesus) returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, ‘Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!’” We are not alone in this because every parent falters; no home and no parent are perfect. This truth should not deter us from striving to become the best parent we can be; we fall down, but we get back up.
“If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure,” 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (NLT). When we falter, we get back up and go at it again while always striving to do better the next time.
“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”1 Peter 1:6-7 (NLT)
I think Peter could have easily been speaking of the trials of parenting when he wrote these words. It is in the “fire” that we become purified, and it is in Christ that we can become more tomorrow than we are today. Every parent is tested at their weakest moment. Don’t take the bait. Could it be that God gave us children to raise us? When our faith remains strong through the many trials of parenting never throw up your hands and always strive for self-control.
Consistency is important as long as the consistency is productive. We can’t let our parenting response change like the wind or change with our emotions. Every parent needs an “I mean business” tone and look to be used when necessary; however, yelling at our children doesn’t usually produce what we hope for. This lack of self-control reflects more on the parent than on the child’s behavior. Things do not improve simply because our impatience is put on display. James 1:19-20 (NLT): Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”
Our children never respond to our anger as we would hope, but rather, use our behavior as justification for more bad behavior on their part. When the shopping trip starts going “south,” then it is simply time to go home.