(This week I'm taking a look at Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches by Rachel Jankovic. This short book is crammed full of helpful perspectives as well as practical thoughts on parenting. I have something highlighted on nearly every page of the book. Each post this week is going to focus on a thought from the book to give you a glimpse into the kind of things you'll find in it. I'm also giving a copy away, so check out the details at the bottom of the page to get entered to win!)
I don't like housework. At. All. I'll readily ignore laundry, scrubbing toilets, and tidying the house to jump on the chance to spend a nice day at the zoo or at the park. I'm willing to "sacrifice" a clean home to play with and spend quality time with my boys.
Sometimes my biggest weaknesses can also be my biggest strengths.
But the opposite can be true as well: My biggest strengths can also be my biggest weakness.
The fact that it doesn't bother me much to let a picture perfect home roll off of my shoulders CAN be a good thing if it means I'm making fun memories with my boys and not being uptight with life because, as they say, "trying to keep a home clean with children in the mix is like trying to brush my teeth with oreos." BUT this laid back approach to housekeeping can quickly become an excuse to be a lazy slob, if I'm not careful. I'd rather check facebook, watch a cartoon with the boys or do nothing when I've got a perfect opportunity to do some catching up on the house.
Rachel wisely points out that when we see an area that our child struggles with, we should see the good that could become of it. A defiant child has the potential to stand up for what he believes in. This weakness has the potential to be shaped into a God-honoring virtue. This perspective can help us see the hope for virtue coming from the vice.
On the flip side, a child's strength can quickly become a weakness. Say a child has a tender conscience. Parents acknowledge and encourage it, but without careful balance, at some point the child could develop into a self-righteous kid that others don't want to be around.
This has been such a challenging thought for me. I can get SO discouraged by my children's disobedience. Both of them have tendencies and struggles that surface and resurface over and over again (and we're only a few years into this parenting thing!) It helps me to persevere in consistent, loving discipline when I think of how God could use these "weaknesses" to his glory.
It also helps me because, well, I think my kids are awesome. I know I write a lot about my struggles with my boys on this blog, because that's the part of my parenting journey that takes more thought for me. But the bottom line is, I'm head over heels for my boys and it's not hard for me to find things that are overly-incredible about them. It's a good reminder for me to try to cultivate those strengths in such a way that they don't turn into a weakness (I would say the underlying issue would be some manifestation of pride in most areas, children or adults).
Kind of thought provoking, huh? I've thought a lot about helping my kids overcome their weaknesses, but not about helping fine tune that weakness into a strength that glorifies God. And I don't give a lot of thought to the fact that those good things that come more naturally for them could turn out to be a source of weakness and sin if not encouraged in a God-honoring way.
This is just a peek at what you'll find in Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches. Would you like to win a copy? Just enter the giveaway below by Thursday, July 5th at Midnight. We'll announce the giveaway winner sometime on Friday, July 6th.
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