Many times as a parent to my children I’ve been faced with the bad choices that they’ve made and had to use my mom brain to rationalize what the next step is to better their lives. Often times I find myself overwhelmed with the daily grind that I end up getting flustered. So I fall back on my heart. What is my heart telling me to do? Sometimes I mess up, but most of the time it’s spot on.
Do you take away her makeup because she wore too much eye shadow or her lipstick is too dark? Do I take away the Xbox for the night because he didn’t take the trash out? Do I ground them for a D in math (even though I couldn’t teach them the math they need because I suck at math)? Do I yell at her because she’s yelling at me? Do I question him until I’m blue in the face?
No. Just simply, no. Sometimes you give them grace. You quiet your inner voices and you listen. Life is filled with chaos and loud noises and movement. There has to be a time that we teach them what grace looks like. How grace sits, and moves and feels like. We have to show them where to find it. What better person to show them, then their mother.
Grace is the loving hand that sweeps the hair from their face when they’re intently talking about what they did wrong? Grace is the relaxed face that’s giving them kind direct eye contact. Grace is the soft tone you use as you say, “I can understand how that would make you feel honey.” Grace is the comfortable hug that comes after the truth has been revealed instead of the expected lashing of venomous words laced with disappointment.
When everything is done and they are looking at you with those puppy eyes, reach within yourself and hand them mercy. They need to know that everyone deserves unconditional love and affection freely given. Don’t ever punish by withholding love and affection. It’s a mean cruel world out there. They will learn that soon enough. Sooner than you’ll ever be ready for.
Mercy is compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. Mercy is sitting down with them and listening to their reasons for what they did and not responding in a negative way. Mercy is simply telling them, “I love you,” instead of issuing a consequence. Mercy is letting them make the mistake and allowing them to feel their own disappointment and showering them with love for learning a difficult lesson the hard way.
When you’re at your limit and they pushed the button for the last time, show them mercy. When you’ve explained the rules and they broke them, give them mercy. When they knew what was right but chose to do what was wrong instead, hand them mercy instead.
Give them gracious mercy…sometimes.