Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Teachable Moments Aren't Usually Planned

Sometimes teachable moments and conversations come along when I really don’t want them to. On Sunday, we were driving to church and Hope told me that she heard God’s voice in her head telling her not to do something. On the surface, this sounds great—we all want our kids to hear God’s voice and obey, right?

Let me backtrack and explain how we got to the conversation. We talk a lot in the Royal house about being people of our word. When we tell someone we are going to do something, we follow through. That doesn’t mean we say “Yes” to everything—it means before we give someone an answer, we need to really think through the impact of our choosing to say “Yes.” One of my big questions is, “If we say ‘Yes’ to this, what are we saying ‘No’ to?” Sometimes “Yes” is still the right answer; sometimes the consequences of saying it are too great upon other things and it’s not the right answer.

Earlier in the week, Hope was invited to do something that was going to require she get out of bed early 2 days in a row. And she is not a morning person—not to mention that she had another commitment that was going to require her to get up early the other day—giving her one day of sleeping in on her 4 day weekend (and sadly, that was interrupted by a squirrel who got in the soffit above her room and decided to run back and forth while she was trying to sleep in on Saturday).

Back to the commitment. Before she said she would do it, we talked through all the pros and cons. And the decision was tough, but she decided to do it. So I responded to the adult, told her Hope was "in" and we were set.

Until Sunday morning rolled around. And she didn’t want to get out of bed. And she let the whole house know about it. After many conversations about keeping our word, she decided she was going to back out of her commitment, knowing she still had to get up and go tell the person she had committed to that she was backing out.

Have I mentioned parenting is exhausting some days?

Now, we’re back to the part where she informed me that she heard God’s voice telling her not to do this. So the conversation started again. This time, it was about how God doesn’t want us to make promises we can’t keep. And, that voice might be Him telling her not to commit to doing this any more in the future. BUT, it could also be fear. Or laziness. Or pride.

Please hear me, I really am good with her backing out of this commitment in the future—it’s a standing one that she has the choice to accept or decline about once a month. I love that she does it, but it would be easier some weeks if she didn’t (any parent who has shuffled kids from one activity to another can feel my pain here).

All this before 7am.

Looking back, I’m so glad we had this conversation--and we will continue to unpack it—but it was not one I really wanted to have at that time. One of the hardest things I’m learning about parenting (and by “learning” I mean that I usually mess-up the first few times) is that I need to be constantly aware of when to speak up and when to be quiet. Those teachable moments often come at times when my guard is down and I’m not actively looking for them. When I don’t feel “prayed up” and am winging it.

Just another reminder to me that I don’t own these daughters—they are mine to shepherd and guide—but I can’t do that in my own wisdom and strength. Makes me appreciate the Holy Spirit’s presence so much more!

Now, if only I would learn to rely on that the first time instead of trying to forge ahead on my own…

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