I'm tired of reading blogs and articles about the perfect parent. You open the blog, read it, sit back in your chair and think, "Why can't I be a parent like that?' You know the blogs I'm talking about. The blogs that describe family life as a joyous, wonderful and trouble-free experience. Whether it's raising kids, dealing with teenagers, or how to have the harmonious marriage, these blogs paint a picture of how it should be, while offering 3, 5, 6, 10, easy steps to help you make the picture a reality in your home. Even when reading the blogs posted by the "experts," by the end of the post I often feel like, "Yeah, that would work, if we were a 30 minute TV sitcom."
I know these articles are supposed to be tools to help be become a better parent, but more often than not, all they do is remind me of everything wrong I do, and how often I fail as a parent. Where are the blogs from parents who mess up? Parents who lose their patience, parents who yell and scream? Parents who struggle career and family, and too often fail with both? Where are the parents who live paycheck to paycheck, who can't buy their kid the newest iPhone the day it's released? Where are the parents who are fighting to do what's right, to train up their kids in the face of a cultural that is constant pushing back on everything? I want a real blog, by a real parent, who makes real mistakes. No more, how to have a perfect kid in 7 days.
If you've ever thought or felt this way I want to offer to you something a little different, and it all begins with a simple confession.
CONFESSION: I am NOT a Perfect Parent.
This weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving as a family. No traveling. No extended family coming in. No friends or neighbors. Just the 7 Highams. Now the week started out great. We made a plan that we thought would be a fun way to share in the whole Thanksgiving experience. (I'll talk about some of the things we did in posts coming later this week, then link them to the bottom of this blog entry.) We (Amy and I) were excited about the day. It was going to be a fun family opportunity for life-long memories. That was until...
I lost it. Thursday morning came, and one by one, the crew started stirring. We began putting our plans into action. The kids started helping with the various dishes of the meal. But it didn't take long for the complaining to begin. Not over helping with the food, but with the regular house chores. You see, when cooking all day for 7 people, you create a lot of dishes that need to be cleaned. The problem was, the kid assigned to wash dishes was still in bed. I wanted to wake the child and get him in the kitchen. amy wanted to let him sleep. CLASH!
Later that day, dishes again needed to be done. Where was the dishwasher? Playing video games in the basement. So I go to get him. CLASH!
And these are just 2 examples. There were a number of other CLASHES that took place. Needless to say, it wasn't the Rockwell Thanksgiving we thought we'd have. But it wasn't horrible. No, instead, I was reminded of my own sinfulness, and the abundance of grace that God pours out on me every day. Like the Father, I too need to pour grace out on my kids.
I'm not a perfect parent. I lose my temper. I allow the stresses of life to control my emotions and reactions. I often put work before family. I hide away when I am overwhelmed. And I too often set too high of a standard for the kids.
But God is working in our family. He is teaching us as parents the importance of our call to be parents. To train up our kids. To show grace. To be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slower to anger. To forgive. To help. To love. And with each mistake I (we) make, there's an opportunity to learn, grow, and talk about whatever just happened.
No, I'm not a perfect parent. But even in my imperfection, God's perfect love is evident.
When I started talking with Amy about changing the face (content) of the blog to reflect more of who we are and what we do as a family, one of the hopes I have is to offer real help to real parents. To share our fails, our mistakes, and our life lessons. And to encourage you to not give up, but instead keep on living in grace. The other guys offer great tools and resources. And for many, I'm sure their ideas, techniques, and strategies work. But life isn't always about a tool, resources, or plan. Sometimes you just have to roll with it.
Oh, yeah, Thanksgiving ended being a great time for us. But even more, the lessons we learned throughout the day helped to make the weekend even better. No, we are far from being the perfect family, but we are closer to being the family God created us to be.
*This week, we will share some of the Thanksgiving festivities, including some of the fun activities and photos we took. Links will appear below when the blogs are posted.
Thanks for taking the time to read The Higham Family Blog. Each week we try to share new content about something we are learning, something we love, or something to offer encouragement to the family. We love to hear from our readers, so please share your thought in the comment section of each post.