Sitting in a Daughters of Sarah classroom, my mind started spinning as I heard the stories. These were real women trying to understand how their childhood memories were being played out in their marriages. Some stories were funny. Some were sad. And some were absolutely horrifying. For me, somehow it made my distorted childhood memories feel somewhat normal. Everyone didn’t have perfect parents who had a great marriage. I was learning that most women struggle at one time or another.
I may as well have been in a different room though… my mind was on childhood introspection alright, but my thoughts weren’t focused on marriage. I was thinking of how my parents parented me and my siblings. I was focused on what could have triggered some of the issues that were coming into play as I parented my teens and twenty-somethings. At that moment, I was trying to figure out why my twenty-somethings weren’t like the other kids at church. For me, it was hurt and disappointment.
Then the memory came into sharp focus with finite clarity.
It was a spring day of my junior year of high school and I was sitting on the back patio with my mom and stepdad. Our family was a Brady Bunch with an added caboose, and one of my step-brothers was my same age. My brother and I were good friends, even though we weren’t anything alike. At this point in his life, school wasn’t on the top of his priority list and his grades were taking a nose dive.
I remember the conversation distinctly between my parents that they chose not to have in private.
“Your son is failing all his classes. He won’t graduate if he keeps this up. You need to do something,” my mom pleaded.
“Well, at least he has friends and goes out and has fun, unlike your daughter,” my stepdad retorted.
“Well, my daughter studies and makes good grades. She’s going to go places!”
“She’s always got her nose in books. It takes personality to get somewhere in life.”
“If he keeps this up, he won’t amount to a hill of beans,” she responded.
And the conversation continued…
In front of a 16 year old girl…
Being compared to one of her best friends…
Feeling like a rag doll being pulled from both sides.
Questioning, “Do I measure up?”
As I contemplated the memory, the answer was in full view now. I realized as an adult the lie that I believed for so long. I’d been trying to compare my kids to others to see if they measure up, just like I wanted to meet my stepdad’s expectations.
I want my children to be to loved and accepted by everyone. Somehow I’d forgotten that my kids are who they are because that is how God created them. I don’t need to compare them to others. They don’t need to measure up to someone else’s expectations. God has a specific plan for their lives.
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Dare you to look at how your childhood story impacts your parenting. Are you reacting to a childhood incident that might be having negative effects on your relationships with your teens and twenty-somethings?
Boldly walking alongside you in your parenting.
“Let go…and let God,”