FamilyParenting 3 minutes to read

Maybe it’s because we’ve added a second son to our family recently, but regardless of the number of kids, it only takes a few minutes in the middle of the night holding a crying baby to know that I’m not a perfect parent.

There isn’t a graduate program for parenting. If there is, no one has ever told me about it. And I’m upset at those people.

Sure, some of us might have had a masterclass on what not to do from our parents. I get that. Or maybe some of us had solid parents who we stole tactics from for our own kids.

But ultimately, there’s no how-to manual on parenting, and for sure not one on how to be an amazing parent.

Now that I’m a few years into being a parent, I would describe my approach as “progress over perfection.”

I’ve tried the perfect parent thing, but that hasn’t worked (refer back to the first paragraph).

I’ll never be a perfect parent, but what I can be is one who always gets better.

I know you’ve been wondering this whole time…the answer is YES! The title of this blog is referring to that incredible 1988 song by Michael Jackson: Man In The Mirror.

Regardless of how you might feel about Michael’s lifestyle or choices, he made incredible music. Don’t argue with me on this. I will win. 

This song has been stuck in my head quite a bit lately, but not for reasons you might think.

As my family has been stuck inside during this quarantine and all the havoc that COVID-19 has brought to the world, I have come face to face with the truly broken man in the mirror. 

My 3-year-old, Brady, is a mini-me. I thought that would be cool before I was a parent, but now I almost feel bad for the kid. He looks like me, he acts like me, and he’s got some of the difficult tendencies I have. That’s my fault.

What I’ve seen is me in my son. 

His struggles are super frustrating to me by themselves, but even more so, it’s frustrating because it’s a reflection of the struggles I have.

I mean, I’m trying to not think about all the things I suck at, and this kid has to put them on HD display for me?

I struggle with this because it’s one of the primary ways the voice of shame creeps in. It tells me I’m miserable. I’m a lousy parent. My son will always struggle with this or that, and it’s my fault. I’ll always struggle with these things and there’s no way around it.

But one of my favorite things about the way Jesus works is that He is the best at switching the paradigm. Switching the perspective.

Recently, I’ve heard the voice of Jesus through my friends and my prayers. The voice of Jesus tells me, “This is my grace that I’m revealing these things to you. You can’t change it if you can’t see it.”

Jesus is right. I could end this blog here, right!

I’m learning, with the help of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, that only when I can see the man in the mirror, can I change his ways.

Change starts with awareness. It’s only then that we can put people and practices into place to help foster the change we want.

When you look at the man/woman in the mirror, what is the voice of Jesus telling you?