EVALUATE YOUR MOTIVES
When I was a young mother, I was determined not to have kids who were out of control. I wanted to be respected as a good mother, and not known as someone who had unmanageable children.
One day I overreacted to my child skipping and laughing through the sanctuary after church. Vaughn, one of my mentors, asked me why I had reacted so strongly. He made me evaluate my reason for my “be quiet in the sanctuary” rule.
Through a series of questions, Vaughn helped me see my motivation was not a strong conviction that my children honor the house of the Lord, but more a concern about what others would think of me as a mother.
Vaughn said, never enforce standards on your child based upon what other people think. Determine the rules founded upon commands in the Bible, and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Hold your child to the principles of the Lord, not the standard of people.
By your example, you will train them to be God pleasers, rather than people pleasers.
After some serious soul searching, I had to admit, the number one reason I wanted good children was I wanted others to think highly of me. Which meant, I wanted to bring glory to myself–not God. Vaughn’s honest, yet painful, words had convicted me of a sin to which I was completely oblivious. (One very good reason to invite mature mentors into your life.)
With my own tendency to people-please, I may not have recognized my wrong motive until I had thoroughly ruined my children.
While having obedient children is a delight, you must evaluate the reason you want them to obey. If you find you are overbearing and controlling you may discover your main motivation for wanting a respectful son is so people will identify you as a good mother.
Have you made the respect of others an idol within your heart? In her book Idols of the Heart, Elyse Fitzpatrick states, “Man’s desire to rule has become self-focused. Men and women sinfully lord it over others, becoming cruel and demanding, relishing power and control. They crave respect, desiring that others think well of them, rather than seeking to respect and honor God and others who reflect Him… They fail to honor God and set themselves up as monarchs.”
If you have become harsh, anxious or controlling as a parent, is it possible you have become self-focused? If so, you would do well to repent, and ask the Lord to show you how to establish new patterns of parenting. The Holy Spirit can help you selflessly love your children. This love centers on pleasing God – not others. And seeks your child’s good above your own. *
*Excerpt from Moms Raising Sons to Be Men.