I asked my sister if I could borrow some nail polish. Shuffling through a shoebox filled with a rainbow of glittering color, I saw it. Forbidden.
Picking up the small bottle, I turned to face my sister, “What is this?”
She laughed. I marched out of her room to find our mom. “Mom! Do you know what Maddie has?”
Looking at the little bottle my mom cracked a smile while trying to hold back a laugh. “She has black nail polish! You never let me wear black nail polish when I wanted to!”
It’s become a running joke in our family. I was never allowed to wear black nail polish or dye my hair. My younger siblings? Well, my brother has dyed his hair every color of the rainbow. No joke. My sister totes a pink streak on her ginger head.
The first time I told my parents I wanted to dye my hair my mom said, “If you dye your hair, I’ll shave your head.” Why? I’m not sure. It’s was just one of those parental idiosyncrasies toward the first born.
But every time I think about black nail polish and hair dye, I’m reminded of all the times I said, “I’ll never do that with my kids.” I know I’m not the only one.
As I’ve grown, the phrase has changed to “I’m going to be a better parent than my parents were.” I’ve heard it as, “Your parents were just trying to do the best they could” or “I want to give you a better life than I had.”
But I’ve been thinking is “better than them” the right motivation? We all want to be better moms. We don’t want to be stagnant. We want to inspire, love, and raise our children in the Truth. But what if instead of setting our sights on being better than our own parents, we fix our gaze on God and seek to parent as He does.
What if instead of comparing ourselves to generations past, instead of looking at the pain, the ignorance, the mistakes and saying, “I won’t do that,” we made God’s parenting the standard?
What if we spoke words of life and encouragement, even when our children struggle?
What if we loved with patience first, even if we’ve told them 1,000 times before?
What if we listened to their heart and interests instead of telling them to follow our plan?
What if when they disobey, we get down on our knees look them in the eyes and say, “Even though what you did was wrong, I love you.”
What if we gave them grace even when we want retribution?
What if we said, “As the Father loves me, so I seek to love you”?