Many years ago when my children were small, I found the treatise on parenting seen below. I wanted to save it and keep it somewhere I could see it as a reminder. The craft of decoupage was popular then, so it ended up on a piece of wood. That piece of wood with the message is gone. But I made sure to copy and saved this message in electronic form.
I didn’t parent perfectly and there’s always going to be some baggage, I suppose. I carried my own briefcase full of blues into adult life, after all. Surely, one can hope.
“Children Learn What They Live”
When children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
When children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
When children live with ridicule, they learn to be shy.
When children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
When children live with tolerance, they learn to be patient.
When children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
When children live with security, they learn to have faith.
When children live with fairness, they learn justice.
When children live with praise, they learn to appreciate.
When children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
When children live with acceptance and friendship, they learn to find love in the world.
We aren’t given guarantees. That’s because there’s no simple mathematical formula for treating every child the same. And of course, “Life Happens,” throwing monkey wrenches into our well-oiled systems.
But this is a good start at any placeyou find yourself in parenting. Perhaps if we take these statements to heart and act on them, we’ll even see relationships change with our adult children.
Father in heaven, today we pray you’ll remind us of the extraordinary gift you gave when you gave us children. Please help us to guide all of them the same way you guide and teach us. Show us Your example and empower us in these important roles of parent and influencer to children.
The graphic below shows a prayer, commonly referred to as the “Serenity Prayer,”* attributed to Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr and reportedly written in 1926. Niebuhr was a Lutheran pastor and theologian.
After knowing only the first four lines of the prayer, which I learned in 1984, it wasn’t long before I became acquainted with the entire thing. Even though at the time I hadn’t made a decision to follow Christ, the words made sense. Years after that, I was reciting the whole prayer from memory at a weekly small group.
Today, I believe the three most important words of this prayer aren’t, as some people choose to see them, acceptance, courage and wisdom. They are
“God, I surrender”
For me, surrendering to God creates a serenity and peace I can’t otherwise know.
*Usually Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer is quoted using only the first four lines shown here.
Having illness in our lives can lead to discouragement. Whether it’s a common cold keeping us from being fully productive, a more lengthy and serious illness, or recovery from surgery, we can take our requests for healing and wholeness to God. His love and power work according to his will. Seek him and find him.
I feel broken and I seem to make this illness a definition of myself.
I know it’s not. I know there’s a whole person here-in body, mind and spirit.
But sometimes it seems my mind and body betray me, so wholeness isn’t how I feel.
I know you understand; this pain and anguish.
I know you are the Power that can make me whole.
Because you are truth. You are love. You are miracles.
I’m willing to let go now and release this condition to you.
I believe your will for me most of all is acceptance.
I accept your love. I accept your will and any outcome.
I accept your deliverance, which will help me to see that I am me, not my illness.