It is a long time since I was a mother of a preschooler. I have three boys who now, with their lovely wives, have seven preschooler-aged children between them. So I have the joy and privilege of being a grandma and also, for the past two years, a MOPS mentor.
When one of our boys was about seven or eight and we were celebrating an adult birthday in our family, he said he had an idea. He considered the large number of candles needed for such a cake and suggested that we have three candles – one for the past, one for the present and one for the future. We all thought it a great idea and this became a family tradition (for adult birthdays) also extending to birthday cakes for friends and even members of our Church Home Group.
So I find myself thinking about the significance of Past, Present and Future as I reflect back on my parenting journey.
PAST – I was blessed with a Mum who set me a great pattern of mothering. She believed in me and was my greatest encourager. She modelled commitment and kindness to her children and husband. She never used sarcasm. In fact what my parents said was always what they meant. This is a good lesson, I think.
I had no grandparents and very few in my extended family but significant “aunts” and “uncles” added to the heritage I could take into my mothering and I am grateful.
PRESENT – Proverbs 22:6 exhorts us to “Train a child in the way he should go—.” Along the way we often need good,wise advice and James 1:5 reminds us that “If anyone lacks wisdom— ask God who gives generously.” And, thirdly, one of my favourite Bible passages for life and certainly for parenting comes from Proverbs 3:5-6 which says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”
So enjoy your children. Have fun with them. Be honest and fair (apologise when you need to – we all get tired and cranky sometimes) and put in the time and effort needed to teach them, with words and by example, what is important. Encourage and affirm them. Give them opportunities to relate to older generations -aunts, uncles, grandparents-real or proxy (we had wonderful, older next-door neighbours.) They provide different perspectives on life.
These are some of the things I have learned.
And along the way keep praying for your children – for now and into an exciting and largely unknown —-FUTURE
Mt. Pleasant Baptist MOPS, W.A.