Are you feeling inadequate today? Do the challenges of parenting and educating your children make you question yourself, your motives, and your direction? Do you worry, in the wee hours of the night, if you are jeopardizing your child’s future? Is there a tiny nagging doubt that you are smart enough to do this?
You are in good company!
I’ve come to the decision, after years of feeling inadequate, that it is a fairly continual state for a dedicated parent as long as there is breath. All along the journey I’ve thought that at the completion of each parenting stage it would get better:
• Maybe after they started talking and were out of diapers I would feel more confident.
• Perhaps when they moved past the awkwardness of middle school things would get easier.
• Would I be more assured of my direction after the high school years?
• Possibly after college graduation I would know exactly what to do.
• Maybe by the first grandchild . . . .
I had high hopes that questioning myself would fade away, but I understand now that there are just new challenges and new areas to make me feel insufficient.
Now, I will admit that I am a confident parent. I have firm opinions and move boldly. I lead my children with certainty. I had “parented” many kids before I had my own, so I was no novice when I brought my first one home from the hospital. And yet, the more experience I gained, the more I understood what could go wrong. The deeper I walked in my faith, the better picture I got of the fact that I was honestly in control of nothing. The closer my kids got to maturity, the more I understood that they didn’t have to listen. The more successful my kids became, the more I realized that it was grace and not me.
It is the wise parent who feels inadequate. In fact, the best parents are the ones who question themselves on a regular basis (in private, not in front of the kids).
Great parents know too well that a bold move can backfire. We understand we are made of clay and fallible. We recognize that our kids are free agents who are growing into themselves and moving away from us if they are healthy. Thus, parents with feelings of inadequacy are forced by their knowledge to humble themselves and pray for guidance. Herein lies the strength of the honest parent. They lean heavily on the one who created the foundations of the world and not on their own wisdom. They shed tears in privacy and beg for direction.
I do realize there are many homeschool parents out there who think they have all the answers and will tell everyone else how to live their life, but I have found that they are usually a whitewashed sepulcher. Those who know it all usually know very little. Unfortunately you will find them in positions of leadership, speaking at conventions, and writing curriculum.
I’m not here to level charges, but to invite you into freedom. The best parents are the ones doing things differently from everyone else they know. They are leading their children into new territory. They are striving for excellence. They are all about helping their kids develop, not acquiring pats on the back for themselves. They pray hard and trust their gut. But it is a lonely adventure. There is no one at church or in your support group who will understand the secret doubts of an outwardly confident woman.
If you are feeling inadequate today, be encouraged! You are exactly where you need to be. From the beginning of time, God knew you were the best parent for your child. You can rest content that He will work through all your inadequacies for your child’s present and future.
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