ARTICLE BY: Jennifer Bryant, Living by Design Writing Team
“Look, I’ll eat the broccoli, then you eat the broccoli! Okay?”
My chubby-cheeked little man watched in curious anticipation as I steered the forkful of veggies to my mouth.
Is she gonna do it?
He couldn’t talk at the time, so his inner monologue is actually my interpretation of the cute look on his face.
I began to chew and made the obligatory “mmmmmm” noise, hoping to incite his eagerness to follow suit and try the strange-looking green shrub.
He grinned and giggled, four tiny teeth shining brightly.
He examined the little green tree, and after a moment’s hesitation, popped it into his mouth.
“Mmmmmm”, he declared, delighted to discover a new food.
Some of the most satisfying moments of parenthood are when I’m able to impart wisdom or teach my kids something new.
Although I love setting a positive example for my kids, I also know that they can learn just as much from the times I mess up.
Yes, even as a grown-up adult, I still make choices that hurt other people.
When I respond to my husband with harsh words or vent frustration at my son for spilling his drink.
I walk away feeling justified. Then foolish. Then sad.
But each time I walk away without a plan to recover the pain I’ve caused—hoping it disappears like an early morning fog—I miss a valuable opportunity to model humility for my children.Some of the most satisfying moments of parenthood are when we're able to impart wisdom or teach our kids something new.Click To Tweet
The Value of Vulnerability
Maybe you’ve been stuck in a similar place—knowing that reconciliation needs to happen, but not wanting to lose face in front of your kids.
Experience has taught me that my kids trust me a whole lot more when I’m willing to admit that I messed up.
A simple, “I was wrong,” or “I’m sorry,” can be the difference between hurt and healing, heartache, and hope.
When we’re not willing to be real about our failures, our kids won’t know what to do when they fail.
The same is actually true of bosses, pastors, leaders, and anyone in a position of authority.
People tend not to trust folks they can’t relate to.
Think about someone in your life who is likable, approachable, and kind.As Christians, God has called us to model Christ-like humility to our children.Click To Tweet
Do they act like they have it all together? Probably not.
That’s why I don’t try to hide my fallibility from my kids anymore.
It’s good for them to see me struggle from time to time.
Their questions like “Mom, why were you crying?” help me to ask myself the same question and begin healing my own heart with a little honesty.
“Well, Daddy and I were just talking about things and I got upset.”
Or when I encourage my kids to share their hurt with me, I have to be ready to apologize when I am the one who caused their pain.When we’re not willing to be real about our failures, our kids won’t know what to do when they fail.Click To Tweet
“Mom, when you yelled at me, it hurt my feelings,” is one of the sweetest things my kids have ever said to me.
The truth is, I can be unnecessarily harsh when I feel out of control, and my tone can be too abrupt.
“Oh baby, thank you for telling me that. I’m sorry that I hurt your feelings. Let’s talk about what happened.”
Even when we feel like we’ve modeled bad behavior—there is still grace.
As long as we are breathing, there is time to make it right.
God knows our heart, and as long as we are still trusting Him to guide our parenting journey, daily surrender is necessary. He gets it! He’s our heavenly Daddy, our parent.
Hebrews 4:15 (NASB) says: “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.”
As Christians, it is our responsibility to model Christ-like humility to our children.Vulnerability is not comfortable at first, but when we surrender our pride and open ourselves to change, the Holy Spirit intervenes and alters our perspective.Click To Tweet
The Ultimate Role Model
During his time on earth, Jesus modeled submission, surrender, and trust in the Father.
He was all-knowing and all-powerful, able to call down heaven and earth, but He still chose to submit the Father:
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 6:38 NASB
Christ was the ultimate role-model as He surrendered to the will of His Father.
“So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him. John 8:28-29Christ was the ultimate role-model as He surrendered to the will of His Father.Click To Tweet
In our homes, we are to reflect the heart of Jesus in action, motivation, and character.
We have the beautiful privilege of modeling Christ-like humility to our children.
If we are going to ask our kids to lay down their pride and try new things, we need to be the first to show them that it’s possible.
You may think, “I’m the mother, after all. They need to know I’m in charge! If I admit I messed up, they’ll walk all over me or never trust me again.”
But it is our Biblical heritage as Christians to follow Christ’s example of humility and model a life of submission to our children.
Teaching surrender is like teaching your kids to eat broccoli.
You’ve got to show them you’re willing to do it, too.It is our Biblical heritage as Christians to follow Christ’s example of humility and model a life of submission to our children.Click To Tweet
Simple Steps to Build Trust with your Kids
Start to build a relationship of empathy and mutual “humanness” by sharing some of your real fears or not-so-glorious moments with your children.
When your kids can see how you relate to them in similar ways, they will be much more likely to open up to you.
Share about how…
…you’ve had to feel the consequences of your actions.
…you feel lonely, sad, or scared sometimes.
…you are fearful of the future, your family’s safety or provision.
…you sometimes say the wrong thing at the wrong time.
Remind your kids that the Bible is full of stories of human error, even by God’s chosen people.
But that’s why God always extends grace—a second-chance to make it right.God always extends grace—a second-chance to make it right.Click To Tweet
Let your kids see the redemptive power of His promises, show them that you too are only human, in need of a Savior.
Take the first bite of your broccoli and show them how to rely on the Lord.
– Jennifer Bryant
Jennifer Bryant is the wife of a good man and mother of two precious kids. Her favorite things include reading, organizing, blogging, singing with her kids, laughing out loud with her husband, and making food for people. She lives in Honolulu, Hawaii and dreams of taking her family on marvelous adventures across the globe.
In the meantime, she blogs about life and family at PracticalFamily.org, and encourages others to build practical skills for healthy communication, simple living, and discover their awesomeness. Read more of her posts on Instagram | Pinterest | Facebook | Twitter.