Are You A Mirror Kind Of Mom?

A RECENT CHILD CORRECTION SESSION in our home went something like this:

Mom: “Please don’t talk to your sister like that.”

Child: “Okay.”

A few minutes later:

Child: “That puzzle piece doesn’t go there! DUH!”

Mom: “I asked you not to speak to your sister like that. Please stop.”

Child: “Okay.”

A few minutes later:

Child: “You never get it right! You’re no good at puzzles.”

Mom, growing frustrated, in the middle of something and not wanting to stop: “Step away from the puzzle and go play with something else. I’ve told you and told you to stop speaking to her in that way.”

A mirror kind of mom does what I did: She brings the child’s attention to his waywardness.

{This is like holding a mirror to the child’s face and letting him see that he’s got lettuce between his teeth.}

I haven’t had much success with “mirror mom” parenting. It produces much frustration in me (and problaby in my kids too) and breeds escalated emotions. 

So I prayed for help. I needed some divine help in getting back to some basics of effective parenting.

God brought James 1:23-25 to mind. “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.”

I thought, “BINGO! That is how I’m parenting! I am holding the mirror to my children to show them what their “natural man” looks like.”

{Turns out, I am very good at showing my children their moral failures. The child, in turn, acknowledges their error and then goes right back to it.}

But as James points out, it is not “hearing” that causes us to be “blessed in all we do.” (see vs 25)

The word of God acts like a mirror. It tells us what is right and what is wrong, and when we train our children to see themselves according to Scripture, they are able to see themselves as sinners and separated from God.

This is necessary… but incomplete. James teaches that we can train ourselves and our children to move beyond fault finding, navel gazing and introspection to laying hold of the freedom found in the pages of scripture…because looking at ourselves in a mirror can never change us, whether we are 5 or 55!

We must actually do it…we must pick the lettuce out from between our teeth. We must guide our children to look at the Word in such a way that they are motivated to abide by and be transformed by it…and James tells us step by step how:

“But the one who looks intently”

 The word for “looks intently” (parakupto) means “to bend over and carefully examine something from the clearest possible vantage point.” This indicates a deliberate and conscious choice to get down and dirty if necessary in order to learn.

A parent who corrects her children this way stops what she’s doing instead of just throwing out commands. She makes a choice to stoop down, look carefully at the core issues, and deal with them according to…

“…the perfect law, the law of liberty”

The word here translated “liberty” is elsewhere always translated as “freedom.” It is essential that we see the laws and the precepts of God not as a task master but as our very freedom! {See Psalm 19:7-11}

A mirror only kind of mom exposes the error in her children but never moves to the freedom part.

One commentator says, “The law that gives freedom seems like a paradox. Law seems to imply restraint and therefore a lack of freedom. Not so with God’s law. His perfect law provides tree freedom. ‘Hold to My teaching’, Christ said, ‘then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” John 8:31-32

Are you a mom who portrays God’s law as positive and beneficial or as negative and punitive? Use God’s law to bring liberating life.

“And abides by it…becoming an effectual doer”

The last phrase indicates process. It is a long term commitment to incorporating any given principle into one’s life and character.

We are not talking about perfection here but about perseverance.  The mom who parents this way uses the tool of “re-do,” where the “crime scene” is re-inacted. But this time, with Mom’s coaching using the law of liberty, the child does the right thing; he makes a good choice; he speaks kind and edifying words.

Putting it all together, it looked like this for me: I made a commitment to STOP, LOOK, and ABIDE, in accordance with James 1:23-25.

I committed to STOP what I was doing when I heard my child speaking unkind words.

I then directed my child to LOOK at I Thessalonians 5:11. Together we discussed the Bible taught they had the power to encourage and build up their sister! Wow! And they did such a great job of doing this when they tried. This is the perfect law of liberty at work. It nourishes the soul.

Then I committed to ABIDE, to keep doing this each time it was needed, re-inacting the crime scene, only this time with good coaching and support from Mom for a better outcome.

We can be mothers who train our children to build lifestyles of transformation around the perfecting precepts of God.

James says this mother, and her children, “will be blessed in all she does.”

So…STOP, LOOK, ABIDE

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One Comment on “Are You A Mirror Kind Of Mom?”

  1. Christine says:

    Wonderful post! I love the way you took apart that verse and applied it. Lots to pray about. Thanks.


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