Are you afraid?
Fear in mothering tangles around our hearts for many reasons. Sometimes we’re so concerned about not making the right choice that we become unable to take a step. Of course, the steps happen whether or not you choose them. Kids continue to grow. Life is always in a state of change.
Fear also comes when we don’t want to experience the disapproval of others. More than once I’ve pushed aside my common sense and volunteered for something because I didn’t want to displease.
I don’t know what you’re afraid of—what makes you push aside your common sense—but these are a few things that have burdened my heart:
- Other people will think I’m a bad mom if I don’t … (insert “opportunity”).
- My kids won’t be able to keep up with other kids.
- My mom/friend/neighbor will think poorly of me.
- Everyone will know how incapable I am.
- My kids will miss out.
When making any decision, we need to ask ourselves, “Am I making this decision out of fear, or am I doing it because it’s God’s choice for my family at this time?”
For example, if you have a preschool age child and you’re considering adding another activity to your week, one common sense question to ask is: “Is my four-year-old physically, mentally and emotionally ready for team sports, organized education, or artistic development?”
In a society that praises accomplishment, children are often forced to take on roles they’re not comfortable with or ready for. Kids are compelled to grow up sooner than they want to—by parents who worry they’ll be left behind.
As parents, we should never be fooled to think we can ever ‘keep up.’ In every area of our children’s lives, someone else will always be brighter, faster, or better. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with wanting our children to be the best they can. But often this “best” becomes detrimental when we push our kids to do too much, too soon.
I have a huge list of classes, workshops, and “opportunities” that I signed my kids up for not because I felt it was God’s plan for our family, but because I was afraid of my kids not being successful in life. I’ve discovered that even if they do miss out on some things, they benefit from what they get instead—like family dinnertime, stories at bedtime, Scripture memorization with Mom. Things that build a foundation for their future.
“The things that are right, noble, and good from the natural standpoint are the very things that keep us from being God’s best,” says Oswald Chambers, in one of my favorite devotional books, My Utmost for His Highest.
And we need to remember, God’s best will be different for each family. When talk to my friend Martha about this, this is what she had to say: “Being bold means I am bold enough to stand up for my kids if they are being treated wrong even though I am a shy person. I don’t make them do gymnastics because that is what I always wanted to do. I buy them shoes that will last all year, but not be as cool as the others, and I have fun with my kids because it is important.”
What about you?
A few good questions to ask yourself are:
What would be the best things that I could give my child—that would train his heart and prepare him for the future?
What good things do I need to give up so I can focus on the best?
The answers could change everything. And when you do decide, you can step out with boldness.