There’s an old African Proverb that says… It takes a village to raise a child.
I love this saying because it’s so true. Aren’t we all in this together?
Truth is, our kids need a variety of adults to pour life and encouragement into their hearts. They need other adults to lovingly hold them accountable and even challenge them to step-it-up at times. And our kids need grown-ups (aside from family) who can help keep their hearts untangled.
Because my kids – our kids — are a work-in-progress.
And that means they are learning how to function in relationships. It means they are trying to figure out how to be a good friend, and how to handle conflict. Their emotions can be confusing and impulsive and overwhelming, and so can their responses to it.
It can be terribly messy.
We’re all raising raw leaders who need direction … and patience … and grace. Lots of grace.
… Especially when my kid hurts your kid and the mama-bear in you awakens. Or yours hurts mine.
… Or when your child feels rejected from their group and your own tangle of rejection tightens.
… Or when you hear about the petty fights at lunch or recess and the mean-spiritedness reminds you of your own struggles as a child.
And you know what happens?
Sometimes our old tangles get triggered by the crunchy situation our kids get in… and we find ourselves offended. We end up heaping our own past woundings onto the situation at hand. And we react with years of pent-up pain spilling out.
It’s not pretty.
And without even realizing it, sometimes we decide that kid isn’t worth the time of day. We judge the offender’s parents, deciding they must be horrible at raising kids. And we believe we’re the model mom doing a bang-up job with our own.
Here’s how that plays out:
… We speak badly about that child in front of ours – words they often repeat.
… We gossip about that mom in front of others – words they often repeat as well.
… And we justify it all.
But sometimes we take it a step farther.
… We may corner the parent at a school or sporting event and give her the what-for.
… Or we get in the face of the child and let them know they’re on our list.
… Or we may even send a nasty email or say something rude on social media to put them in their place.
And it tangles them. So tightly.
What if instead we approached each other with the grace-filled understanding that it takes a village to raise a child? And instead of putting on boxing gloves, we extended hands to partner together to remedy the situations?
What if we really understood that our children are not perfect and that it usually takes two to tangle? And instead of expecting the kids to handle this momentary lapse of reason with maturity and adult insight, we helped them understand the part they may be playing to make the situation crunchy?
What if we took a step back to see why the reaction we’re having toward our kid’s situation is bigger than it should be? And maybe ask God to reveal what tangles of our own are being tightened?
Now there are legit times where the situation is completely out of hand. My family has spent years working through the consequences of a bully. A serious issue like this isn’t what I’m talking about here.
But sometimes we’re careless with the hearts of others when we don’t need to be.
Here’s my challenge:
Can we choose to think the best of each other? We just don’t know the intensity of the battles we’re each facing.
Can we decide to think the best of each others kids? Why not give them grace for not being perfect?
And if we need to connect to help our kids work through a situation – which we might from time to time — can’t we be kind to one another?
Here’s my promise to you:
I promise to see you as a fellow “villager” and treat you with respect. I won’t expect perfection from either of our kids, and I promise not to speak badly about your children to mine. I will encourage grace and forgiveness.
I will teach my kids to own their “stuff” and take responsibility for their actions, and will help them work through those tough seasons and situations with the end goal of reconciliation.
Maybe you will do the same?
Let’s operate with the belief that our hearts for one another – and for the whole village – is good.
Because when we do, our hearts will stay untangled.
There’s an entire chapter dedicated to the tangles we feel as moms.
Do you have your copy yet? Order HERE!