One of my favorite Bible verses about parenting comes from an unlikely place – the Christmas story. As many times as I’ve read it, Luke 2:19 always brings Mary to life as a mom just like me.
“But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”
What great and wonderful things Mary had to think about! Her baby was Jesus, the Son of God Himself.
Over and over in her mind, she reviewed the events of his birth. From the announcement by an angel to her baby’s birth in a stable to shepherds appearing in the doorway to worship her child, she witnessed miraculous events. How full her heart and mind must have been with all that had taken place.
I love that we’re given an insight into Mary’s heart through this verse. She contemplated what was happening in Jesus’ life. And as moms, we also often think about our children. And our thoughts can influence our actions.
What kind of thoughts do you meditate on when it comes to your children?
If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time thinking about them. Whether it’s how they’re doing in a particular subject in school, the way they’re responding to correction, or their latest friendship, our thoughts are often occupied with what’s happening in their lives.
I remember one day when I was talking (okay, obsessing) to my husband about something related to one of our girls. I’d had a bit of a run-in with her that morning, and I was focusing on a negative behavior. And honestly, in that moment, I’m sure my mama mind was blowing it out of proportion.
Being the voice of calm (as always), he gently encouraged me to think of all the positive things about her – and admittedly, there were many. As he listed a few of them aloud to me, I realized he was right. It was a reminder to me that I can let one negative incident color my perception of my child for days.
What I realized anew is the importance of focusing on the good in my children. If I look for the bad, I’m going to find it. And honestly, it’s often easier to see all that needs to be corrected and the many ways they could do better.
If, instead, I focus on the good, I find it easier to encourage her. I can speak words that bless her and lift her up. Because if the good is what I’m looking for, that’s what I’m more likely to see.
So here are three quick tips to help us highlight the positive as we’re in the midst of daily parenting.
1. Take time to notice the good.
Time is the key word. Speaking for myself, if I don’t look for their good behavior, I might not notice. It’s easy to take for granted the areas where they’re obeying and doing well. Then, like a game of whack-a-mole, we constantly try to address the bad behaviors that pop up.
That doesn’t mean we ignore issues that need to be addressed. But let’s make sure to notice and think about the good. After all, I sure like to be told what I’m doing right more than I like to hear about what I’m doing wrong!
2. Tell your child the good you see.
If you notice something good, take the next step and tell your child! Let her know that you see what she’s doing.
It doesn’t have to be a big speech. Just comment on what you observed, maybe give a quick hug, and move on.
Or, if there’s an area you know she’s working hard to improve on and you see progress, do make a big deal out of it. Encourage her and let her see that you’re cheering her on.
3. Focus on applauding their good character qualities.
Getting good grades, scoring a goal in soccer, and playing a solo in the school band are all praiseworthy accomplishments! However, what we really want to see developing in our children’s lives are good character traits.
Did they do a chore without being asked? Thank them for their initiative. Were they thoughtful about how they treated a sibling? Let them know what a gift their kindness is to others.
Ultimately we want to concentrate on those things that have eternal value. Our highest calling as moms is to see them come to know and love their Savior. My daughters’ spiritual condition, seeing them develop a personal relationship with Christ, is my top priority.
If her room is messy when she leaves for school, but I know that she took a few minutes to pray and read God’s Word, that’s a win. If I see her being kind to a classmate who needs help, I’ll put less importance on the inconvenience of making a trip back to school to retrieve the book bag she left in her locker.
Our children are blessings from God, beautiful treasures that my husband and I have been given to parent. I want to take each day, each stage, each age, and see the good in it, enjoy it to its fullest. Yes, some seasons will be easier than others. But we will not pass this way again, these lovely young ladies or I.
I believe Mary looked back often on those early days with her baby boy. How special those memories must have been! May I, too, soak up the moments today, focusing on all that is good in my children so that one day I’ll have many good memories to ponder.
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