In the day to day battle of motherhood, it can often be difficult to keep that long term perspective that we all know we should have.  We see each battle in front of us and forget that it’s the overall war (so to speak) that is at stake.  It’s the person they will become in 10, 15, 20 years, not just the monster we see in front of us at that particular moment.

Being a mommy is HARD WORK.

And no matter how hard we try, we all have gaps in our parenting.  Blind spots that will surely appear later in life when they undergo counseling to fix all the things we messed up.

For me, it seems that I often focus the most on the areas in which I personally feel the weakest.   One of those areas is in dealing with conflict.

To say that I do a poor job of dealing with conflict is an understatement.  More accurately, I run from conflict.  I don’t like confrontation.  And on the flip side, if I am pushed into confrontation, it usually gets ugly.

As a result of my own dysfunction is this area, I have been very intentional in trying to walk my children through things like, how to disagree with a sibling (or even with mom and dad) respectfully, how to properly apologize and then [gasp] ask for forgiveness, how to be graceful when others are unkind to you and you really wanna sock ’em one.

All of these things are hard.  The idea of saying, ‘I am sorry.  I was wrong. Would you forgive me?’ was foreign to me up till a few years ago.  We never said that in my family growing up.  The best I ever recall doing in this arena was a snarky, “I’m sorry” simply to fulfill the requirements set by one of my folks.  But just because I said the words, it didn’t mean I was sincere.

So with my kids, I will often walk them through their conflicts, re-playing what happened, and showing each of them what they could have done differently.

For example, (hypothetically of course), child #1 simultaneously grabs her coloring book out of #2 hands saying, ‘HEY. THAT’S MINE.’  #2 responds by holding onto the book.  A tug of war ensues.

I will replay the scenario with them.   First, I address that #2 should not have taken the book without first asking permission.  Then we go back: when #1 sees the book, instead of grabbing I have her say, ‘That is my book, can I please have it?’  I then have #2 respond by saying, ‘here you go’ and nicely hand it to the sibling.

It doesn’t always go so smoothly, but sometimes it does.  Sometimes I have to make #2 pick up the book, and try again to hand it nicely.  Sometimes the words come out with  hint of attitude.  But overall, it has worked well.

I do the same things when the offense requires an, ‘I am sorry.  Will you forgive me.’

My kids are far from perfect, just like their sinful mama.  But, by God’s grace, I am seeing some amazing things in them and between them.  I am seeing spontaneous apologizes.  I am seeing times when they handle the conflict the right way.  I am seeing a tenderness between all of them that is so sweet and warms my soul.

I do not know where my blind spots are as a parent.  When my kids have kids, those blind spots may become more evident.  But I am grateful to God for the inadequacies that I do see in myself, and for His grace in hopefully not passing those on to my precious children.