By Joey and Carla Link
September 8, 2021
Do you ever feel discouraged in your parenting? Do you feel like giving in or backing off from raising your children to be obedient, loving, patient, and kind because it is just too hard?
The next time this happens, perhaps you will think of this story. There was a girl born to a well-to-do family. She was much loved and desired, until she caught an illness when she was 2 yrs old. This illness left her blind and unable to hear. The family hired a woman named Anne to work with her, expecting little in return. They greatly underestimated the determination and spirit of this woman they hired.
She worked tirelessly with this young girl, putting up with her horrible temper tantrums along the way. It took two long years, yet Anne taught her charge to read and write using braille and to communicate with others through signs. Anne wasn’t this girl’s mother, yet she was committed to seeing this young lady succeed, even with the disabilities God allowed her to have.
And succeed she did. The reward was great when her student, now a young woman, graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College. Anne had spelled every word of every lecture into this girl’s hand during her college years. Can you imagine?! Helen Keller was that little girl and she went on to become a prolific author and speaker on behalf of those with disabilities.
Your child has imperfections too. You may be raising a strong-willed choleric who is determined to be in control, or a lazy phlegmatic who doesn’t see the need to get anything done in a hurry, or a happy-go-lucky sanguine who is easily distracted and doesn’t get their stuff done without constant reminders from you. Or perhaps one of your kids is a moody melancholy whose demands for perfection drive everyone in the family nuts. (Do you want to know more about temperaments – see the Mom’s Notes presentations, “Understanding Your Child’s Besetting Sin, Parts 1,2,3”)
On top of that, your kids are being raised by imperfect parents! Do you have the determination of Anne Sullivan to train your children in the character they will need to succeed, or do you just want to give up because it is too hard? Anne could have done the bare minimum when working with Helen and that would have been okay with everyone but Anne herself.
It was 17 years ago this week that Carla and I were in a horrific car accident that left her bound to a wheelchair. She is often asked how she keeps such as positive attitude in light of the chronic pain she endures daily and not being able to walk. She tells them she has bad days, but they are just harder than the rest. Most days are hard for her. But she goes on to say that doesn’t make them bad. They are just hard. Seeing it that way is a choice.
You are going to have a lot of bad days in your parenting journey especially if you are trying to raise them to have a strong moral character that God approves of. In today’s world there are fewer and fewer people that know what that looks like. It does make the training of your kids harder. But that doesn’t make it bad or wrong. It is just hard. And that’s okay.
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easythat leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life,and those who find it are few.”Matthew 7:13-15 (ESV)