Welcome to another year of Positive Parenting! We are switching gears to have a character training focus for the first part (or half!) of this year. We have found so many things that truly have helped us to help our children develop godly character—as well as many things that hindered good character in our kids---that we want to shout it from the mountaintops! Smile…
However, just like anything good that we want in our kids’ lives, we must first obtain it ourselves. I had seven children fourteen and under when this hit me like a ton of bricks! The poem below elaborates on this point. I pray that you will read it and take it to heart as you endeavor to raise your children to “put on the mind of Christ” and have the character of Christ in the coming year.
“I Looked Into the Eyes of My Children”
I looked into the eyes of my children, surprised by what I did see,
For I thought I’d see the face of Jesus, staring back at me.
But then when I observed their hearts, what I saw was a big surprise.
For instead, I saw me—their mother—reflected in their eyes.
All that I wish I wasn’t, all that I’d like to change,
Was reflected right there in their eyes, in many different ways.
All the things I wanted them to change, all the things I disliked the most,
Were merely reflections of me—things I should have already known.
I cried to the Lord, “Forgive me, for pressuring them, you see,
To be things that I am not willing—or even able—to be.”
When I heard an older one say, in a very selfish tone, “
I’ll give you my best toy, if you’ll only leave me alone.”
I saw manipulation take place and knew where it was learned,
For I, too, can be the very same way, the conniving way I spurned.
When I saw one of them want the best, I thought, “What a selfish child,”
Then saw myself being selfish in just a very short while.
When I heard one of them talk angrily,
I couldn’t believe my ears,
Until a few minutes later, my own angry voice did I hear.
I saw one of them putting frivolities before the things of the Lord,
And then saw me with my magazines, instead of God’s holy Word.
Day after day, God showed me, my children learn what they live,
And before I can help them to change, I must be willing to give—
Yes, give up the things that hold me from being what God wants me to be—
And willing to be an example—of Jesus—for my children to see.
Now when I see poor character reflected in my children’s eyes,
I look into the mirror, for it’s no longer such a surprise.
Instead of asking them to change, I ask God to work in me,
Day by day, changes in them take place—and Christ I am able to see.
Copyright 1998 Donna Reish