BETTER THAN HAPPY – Episode 167

What does it mean to do a “good job” as a mom or as a dad? How do I know if I am doing a “good job” as a parent?

“Does success mean that your kids are happy? Does it mean that they are getting good grades? Does it mean that they understand the things that you’re trying to teach them? Does it mean that they’re obedient and making good life choices? Does it mean that they like you and they want to spend time with you? Does it mean that they’ve turned out in a certain kind of way? I want to offer to you that it should not mean any of those things!”

“What does it mean to be a good parent? Here is the answer: You get to decide. And I want to encourage you to decide, and to define for yourself what successful parenting is.”

If they don’t turn out the way that I want them to turn out, that does not mean anything about my success as a parent. Agency. “Your kids to get think whatever they want to.”

Yesterday morning in our family scripture study, we read about Alma’s example of good parenting, in the book of Mosiah:

ONE. Alma 36:17-19. Teach your children what you think is important to teach them. Is that table manners, or is that honesty? Is it important to you that you teach them how to use their brains to serve them? Is it important to you that you teach them about a loving God?

“We don’t get to choose what our children are going to believe (or what they are going to do with their lives ) in the end – they are going to have to decide. But I think it is really powerful as parents to offer them a way to look at things … And that comes from being intentional and thinking through what you want them to believe.”

https://livingandtravelingwithkids.com/2020/01/day-78-parenting-with-thought-work/

TWO. Mosiah 27:18, 21. Pray for your children.

“Pour out (your) whole soul unto God for them.”

Enos 1:9

THREE. Mosiah 27:24-29. Let God be in charge. Sometimes my older children will tell my younger children what they should be doing. And sometimes they are right, and sometimes they are not. But I like to remind them, “Let me be in charge.”

“It is God’s job to fix and to change.”

https://livingandtravelingwithkids.com/2020/03/day-141-how-to-help-children-make-decisions/

And can we do these three things, without the intent to manipulate our children into doing what we want them to do, but because THAT is the parent that we want to be? Because that is the best version of ourselves?

What IS within my control, and what is NOT within my control?

How honest my children are –> NOT WITHIN MY CONTROL

How consistently I have shown them honesty and taught them honesty –> WITHIN MY CONTROL

“Success has to be defined by things that are within my control.”

Because, the minute I try to control what is not within my control, I get manipulative, right? And anxious and scared and worried.

What is not in my control? How my children think, how they feel, and the results of their thoughts, feelings, and actions. That is in their control. That is their model.

“The only thing that any of us can do it strive to be the best version of US! That’s it.”

Who do I want to be? If I want to do something that accommodates my children, I need to keep ownership over that – I do it because it is who I want to be, not because I think it will make my kids like me more. I am doing it because that feels to me like me at my best. Right? This takes some thoughtwork.

So, again, (1) Bry and I will teach the children what we think is important to teach them. (2), Bry and I will pray for them. And these prayers soften my heart and help me manage my own brain, far more than it softens my children’s hearts. Isn’t that so interesting? When we choose to turn to Him, even if it is on behalf of another, we are the ones whom the prayer serves! Absolutely fascinating! And, (3), I need to leave the rest up to God. And, I am going to tell you this right now: The Lord respects my agency, and the Lord respects their agency. Leaving it up to the Lord may not look to you and me the way we thought we wanted it to look. He will teach and love and provide a way, but He will not force. And when that child, or when that adult, “exercise(s) even a particle of faith, yea, even if (they) can no more than desire to believe” (Alma 32:27), the Lord is there to comfort and guide and inspire them down paths that will lead them to the best version of THEM!