It’s NOT All About You

I’ve been using Ephesians 5:21 as a guide in all my relationships for the past few weeks.  Remember that great paraphrase from The Message:

Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to each other.

We spent several days looking at how that principle applies to to the first relationship Paul discusses following that verse – husband and wife. But what happens when we apply that same idea – that all our relationships need to be undergirded with politeness, common courtesy – to the other relationships mentioned in Ephesians, like between parent and child.

Over the next few days we’ll examine some parenting principles that stem from that understanding … beginning with this one, a foundational principle in politeness:

Don’t make it all about you!

Just yesterday I was talking with a friend about parenting and how hard it really is.  As I was researching, I ran across this quote that pretty much summarized our conversation:

It's Not About You

Wow!  How true is that? We make parenting about us instead of about our kids. It’s the reason we need to be affirmed in our schooling choices and time allocation.  It’s the reason we only share the good things our children do or the things that we feel pretty confident no one will judge us about.  It’s the reason most groups of mothers, in real life or online, end up becoming a competition for the “most engaged, most creative, most spiritual” title.

And in all of that, we’re beating ourselves up and letting our children down!  But what if, we were just polite? What if we didn’t enter the competition, didn’t play the game?  What if we didn’t feel the need to share every situation so that others can tell us how great a job we are doing?  What if it was really about our children?

I’ve been asking myself how that would look. Here are a few things I imagine would be a part of parenting politely.

  • Refusing to write blog posts about our children that are really designed to get more comments to feed our own egos.
  • Speaking to our children’s father about how to manage the stress and struggles before (and maybe even instead of) tweeting it out for the rest of the world.
  • Shutting down the computer to spend time with our children – without making a social media statement.
I guess I’m wondering what our true motivation is when we make the decision to parent publicly—is that really about our children? Please know that I am not saying we should not seek godly counsel and encouragement from each other … but I do think periodic motive checks are always in order in every area of our lives. I’m also not saying I have any answers … I have a 10-year-old.  As I’ve said before, my parenting expertise has decreased exponentially as she’s gotten older.  But even without answers, I believe these are questions we all can benefit from asking ourselves.  And then we trust God’s Word.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  {James 1:5, NIV}

What do you think?

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  1. Thank you for sharing! I realized this several months ago, when my child was hurt by something I posted even though I didn't name names.

  2. Excellent, Teri Lynne, truly. So much to think about here and examine how I have been guilty of using my children as pawns in a competition. Hard truth!

  3. I've been thinking about making sure my girls know I am for them, not against them. One thing that is running through my brain, is especially as we wind down to bed to be an encourager for them and not NAG. Now, this is hardest for me at night because I am worn down. But, the idea of them going to bed with full hearts is pushing me to encourage no matter how I feel.

  4. I think you're absolutely right. I think this pertains to all of blogging…not just when it comes to parenting our children. We must be very careful our motives because it can quickly become a "put me in the spotlight" gig. When we write in regards to parenting, are our intentions truly to help others who may be struggling, or to get applause from others that "I have it all together".
    Very thought provoking.
    And I will be the first to admit, with 5 small children, I do NOT have it all together! 😉


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