For a long time I wasn’t sure how to describe our parenting approach. Labels carry so much baggage these days that I try to avoid them whenever possible. When I was deciding on a website category name for my general parenting posts, I finally landed on Gracious Christian Parenting. Then after I came to that conclusion I looked to see if it was already a “thing” that I wasn’t aware of. (It wasn’t when I looked.)
The Christian Parenting part of the name was easy because we’re parents who desire to follow Christ as we make our choices. But I felt it wasn’t complete. Gracious was the best word to add to it because I do believe we have endeavored to parent with much God-directed and God-provided grace over the past fourteen plus years.
I think someone going through my archives would begin to see a common thread of grace running through the things I’ve written and the choices we’ve made. But I wanted to share two screenshots I saved in the last several months that will illustrate what I’m talking about. I honestly don’t know who said these things and I have no desire to identify them. Although I believe both authors probably have sincere love for their children, one of these blessed me and the other made me sad and concerned for the children in that particular home.
I saw this first comment in answer to a question about a child struggling with being particular about foods. I had to screenshot it because it distressed me so much. I didn’t say anything to the mother who left it. I simply added my own thoughts to the string of comments. (You know mine were radically different if you’ve read my post Why I Don’t Micromanage My Picky Eater.)
I’d honestly like to pull apart this comment and discuss all the things I disagree with, but that would have to be another post.
Compare that attitude with the insight shared here. I don’t remember where I saw this or when I saved it. I’ve simply held on to it until I could use it in a post.
What a profound difference between the first mom and the second.
I found the first mom’s comments well meaning, but lacking in grace. Reading her sentences honestly made my stomach tighten in stress. I wonder about the long-term relationships she will have with her children as she pushes them to toughen up before they face the real world. I shudder to think where we would be in our family relationships if we had taken this approach with Caroline. If you’ve read through my homeschooling and gifted/2e archives, you will understand why.
The second mom is aware of her own shortcomings and recognizes how she isn’t as gracious to her children as she could be. Her comments encouraged me. We’ve had this conversation in our home when accidents happen. We don’t get upset with legitimate accidents. They happen to all of us, especially children. We clean it up and assure Caroline it is okay. We remind her that accidents happen and the only reason we would be upset with her was if she was truly messing around and not being careful. I’m not going to punish my daughter for having the abilities of a child or being – gasp! – human.
I haven’t taken the time to sit down and write a detailed list of what I think it means to be a gracious Christian parent. But I can provide you with these two examples that show different parenting attitudes. In my opinion, one is gracious and the other is not.