I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it a hundred times more, parenting has more to do with parents than kids.

Having a baby (whether by birth or adoption) may immediately thrust you into the category of mom and dad, but the process of parenting is so much more.

For me, having kids was way more than pregnancy and birthing classes, or figuring out whether to breast or bottle feed. Parenting is about raising a child. A human being made in the image of God. Once you start, you don’t get a do-over. You gotta keep going no matter where you are or what life brings your way in the meantime.

When kids are young it’s all about eating, sleeping, and pooping. It’s about gross motor skills and fine motor skills.
So much focus is on physical abilities.

As they grow and mature, the focus then turns to intellect, emotions, and spiritual development.
These things are so much more abstract, but so much more important.

It’s their heart, their character.

These are measured by their attitude and response, you could even miss them if you’re not careful.

This is when greed can fill their little heart.
This is when ungratefulness can become commonplace.
This is when self takes priority over others.

How do you respond to it as a parent?

When do you correct?
When do you encourage?

What do you address?
What do you ignore?

Lately I’ve been challenged in these areas with all of my kids, but I feel God has challenged me most in MY attitude and MY response more than my kid’s attitude and responses.

I’ve been teaching my kids that they are expected to have a right response even if others don’t.
But what about mine?

Even when my kids disrespect me, do I show disgrace in return?
Even when my kids disobey me, will I still respond in love?
Even when my kids display a haughty attitude, will I do the same?

God loves me unconditionally.

While He disciplines, He shows loves. When He corrects, He does so with grace. My attitude towards my kids cannot be based on their behavior or attitude towards me. Kindness and gentleness aren’t just for the days when all is good and easy. It’s easy to be the fun loving mom when everything is going as it should, but can I still be that when it’s not?

Just as I keep the bar high for them, I’m also raising it for myself. Just because I’m the mom and I get to make the rules, doesn’t mean I don’t need some work.

Last week I pulled out my list of character qualities (I got the list from the Duggars book, A Love That Multiplies). Reading through the list I realize some of them are easier for me than others. Some are things we talk about a lot in our family, while others I never really considered as being  character quality (see I still have a LOT of work to do). Last week I went through the practice of writing each quality down in my journal along with the definitions. When I was frustrated with one of my kids, this was my own “discipline” for myself. I can only teach what I know.

Here’s the list, I’ll let you look up the definitions.

Alertness
Attentiveness
Availability
Benevolence
Boldness
Cautiousness
Compassion
Contentment
Creativity
Decisiveness
Deference
Dependability
Determination
Diligence
Discernment
Discretion
Endurance
Enthusiasm
Faith
Flexibility
Forgiveness
Generosity
Gentleness
Gratefulness
Honor
Hospitality
Humility
Initiative
Joyfulness
Justice
Loyalty
Meekness
Obedience
Orderliness
Patience
Persuasiveness
Punctuality
Responsibility
Security
Self-Control
Sensitivity
Sincerity
Thoroughness
Thriftiness
Truthfulness
Tolerance
Virtue
Wisdom