In a moment of spontaneity, we decided to take our daughters to a local farm and corn maze on Friday night. I had never done a corn maze before and was excited about this adventure. After petting animals, taking a hay ride, and painting pumpkins, we headed down the well-marked path into the cornfield.
We started in the daylight and finished in the dark, taking about an hour and a half to navigate our way past all twelve checkpoints. (Let’s just say it’s a good thing that we aren’t settlers traveling west in the 1800’s. There’s no telling where we would have ended up!)
As I was reviewing our evening, I thought about the lessons we learned that night and how they might apply to parenting.
1. You need to have a map – and use it. We were given a map when we entered the corn maze, but, unfortunately, we were not very good at following it! However, as moms, the Bible is our map to guide us through each step of parenting. How important it is that we take the time to read it, and then obey it.
2. You need a leader. It would have been very unwise for the four of us to separate and try to find our own way through the darkness to each of the checkpoints. My husband was the leader and, while we each added our own input at different times, he ultimately chose our direction. If our family is to function Biblically, I also need to acknowledge that my husband is the leader of our home. While he seeks my advice and we pray over our decisions, ultimately I am to follow his leadership and teach our daughters to do the same.
3. Persevere. There came a time when the girls and I were ready to give up, but my husband was committed to completing the maze. In the end, we were glad he was determined and kept us going until we finished. In motherhood, we may not see victory every day as we instruct our children in right and wrong. They will not submit in every area or conquer each bad habit in this moment, but we must keep at it, knowing that our reward will come as we are faithful to follow Christ’s commands and love our children.
4. Accept the help of others – and pass it on. We had only two checkpoints left, but instead of locating them, we seemed to be going around in circles. As we passed another group, we decided to ask them which checkpoint they had just found. Lo and behold, it was one of the spots we needed to find – and they were kind enough to give us directions on how to get there. (Pride in doing it all on our own was gone at this point; we just wanted to finish!) As we go through life, we will meet those who can help us be better mothers and, Lord willing, we can do the same for another young mother someday.
5. As much as possible, prepare for what’s ahead. How thankful I was, when darkness descended on the cornfield, that we had thought to bring flashlights. We also had jackets to keep us warm as the temperature dropped. There is no way mothers can prepare for every eventuality in parenting, but we can recognize that potential struggles may lie ahead. We call this training. We prepare our children for situations that may arise by giving instruction ahead of time and even role playing what their response should be in certain circumstances.
We conquered the corn maze and ended our evening with a cup of ice cream! May I be as successful at internalizing these lessons as we were at enjoying our night together.