As a hardworking mom, I am completely flattered when someone asks me for advice. It feels like the culmination of all my efforts might mean something to the outside world. I might actually know something. Maybe.
A friend asked me for some advice and I was delighted to share everything I knew with her. Her child was acting out in a similar way that my daughter did a few months ago. My husband and I finally resolved the issue with much trial and error and my friend wanted to know, "WHAT WORKED!??!!"
I told her what we tried. Some things failed miserably. Other things exasperated the problem. Finally we found the solution. What a relief! I was very happy to share this epiphany with my desperate friend.
About a week later I heard back from her. "It didn't work! We tried everything and it is just getting worse." I was stumped. It should have worked. Same problem, same solution. Right?
Then I remembered it wasn't this particular recipe for success that was the answer. I had to go back to where I started. The secret is in the wisdom.... and it's not my wisdom to be flattered about.
- "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." James 1:5
Some time ago, I made James 1:5 my theme verse for parenting. In moments of "I have NO idea what to do," I cry out to God for wisdom. Many parenting mistakes occur when our reactions guide our actions. Praying for wisdom separates us from the problem and gives perspective.
- "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." James 3:17
Through much thought and prayer God will reveal wisdom for us. It is in the moments of quiet, when I am reflecting on the particular situation and I pray, "I have NO idea what to do. This child is stumping me. How can I get ahead of this situation?" God provides the answers. He gives insight on the particulars! I misguided my friend with the particulars. I should have said, "My solution worked for my child, but yours could be much different. Pray about it and see what God might have you do." God's wisdom will always bring peace. James 3:17 says so!
- "Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise." Proverbs 19:20
There is a place for well-meant advice. Friends you respect, older family members, a pastor or teacher are all valuable sources as we seek to parent our children with wisdom. I remember casually mentioning to my grandmother about a behavior problem my daughter was having. She had a quick answer because she recalled being just like that when she was a child. Her thoughts were something that I never would have come up with on my own. I know God used my grandmother to provide wisdom for me in that moment.
- "Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off." Proverbs 24:14
No parenting difficulty is ever beyond hope. It feels desperately like there is no end sometimes. Little children love to wear us down. There are the tantrums; screaming, kicking, and mouths that never stop making noise. "The light at the end of the tunnel is just the light of an oncoming train," is too applicable. Yet we have to cling to the hope that wisdom provides. There are solutions, there is enough energy to be consistent, this job is not too big! God will give us everything we need, he says it in his Word. From moment to moment, the answers seem confusing, but God is there. Seek Him for everything. He is the source for the best parenting advice.