Are your parenting efforts making a significant difference? How can you know? Spoiler Alert! –You can’t know!
Parenting is just like that. You may be working on potty training, language skills, academics, or polite behavior. You may research the best strategies, prepare and even get teaching “props” to enhance the learning. But sometimes your kids don’t respond in the way you want. They don’t react like your friend’s child, or like the blog-post child, and they certainly don’t meet your expectations. Then what?
A recent experience reminds me of this issue. I traveled out of state to present a workshop to encourage parents raising their children who had disabilities. I spent weeks trying to perfect the workshop. When the day came I began by introducing myself and asking the participants to do the same. Their introductions through me for a loop! The room was filled with loads of teachers and only a few were parents who had special-needs children. What? I am happy to speak to teachers– but I use a different presentation. That day I was ready to talk to parents and my preparation reflected it.
What to do? I presented my material as planned and tried to tweak it with discussion (theirs and mine) in order to meet the needs of teachers. However, this group was quiet, leaving me uncertain about whether my attempt was successful.
This is when experience saved my day:
It told me just to teach to the best of my ability.
It told me that the participants were here for a reason because this event had been prayed over in advance.
Experience told me that God sometimes takes us by surprise and uses us in ways we don’t expect.
As a matter of fact, at the end of the day one woman told me she attended the workshop to get continuing education credits, but that she realized she was really there for her own personal encouragement. She gained spiritual insight she didn’t know she even needed.
You might be doing something now on behalf of your child or some other situation in your family. You may not be seeing the results you expected.
It’s okay. Take comfort in knowing that sometimes much is happening even though you can’t see it.
As I sit here blogging in a coffee shop, I just ran into a friend who is a women’s minister. She told me that a group of moms in her church have been using my book, Persevering Parent, in their support group, and how much it has helped them. I had no idea about this group–and it’s been in progress for six months. Good things happen that are beyond our view.
Are you unsure if your efforts are making an impact?
Take heart and know that your efforts with your children are changing them little by little in ways unseen. The situation where you see no progress may be transitioning to an outcome that just has not been revealed to you yet.
In short, over 25 years of parenting, God has repeatedly taught me to do three things:
1) pray about situations,
2) show up, and
3) trust Him with the rest.
In what ways are you discouraged? Are you praying about it? Showing up? Then trust God with the outcome!
“So do not throw away your confidence: it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God you will receive what He has promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36