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An open letter to all parents

Let me first say, it is not my intention to pass judgment on anyone. It has been my mantra for years and the catalyst of my career that we “parent the way we are parented unless we purposefully choose to do something different” (Lewis, 2006). I listened to Michelle Blair this week and was reminded of the magnitude of being a parent. As a professional, it is my hope that child welfare workers and school personnel will take a minute to reflect on this family’s case in the hopes of preventing additionally traumas like this one. As a parent, it is my hope that every frustrated and angry emotion derived within me will immediately be challenged by my love and admiration for my children. As a Christian, it is my hope that we continue to build a community of individuals who are looking out for one another, praying for each other and supporting each other with Christian values and principles that can be applied daily. (Below is my reaction after watching Mitchelle Blair’s June 2015 guilty plea on the murders of two of her children):

Parenting is a choice and privilege, once you agree with yourself and your Maker that you are willing to go on this journey; pack your bags and get ready because the route will have some detours, turnabouts and traffic jams. However, getting out of the car is not an option, neither is stopping in the middle of the road.

Creating a life, being a mother or father takes effort; but your work is not done after the creation. Don’t believe me, take a hint from the greatest example given to us, Our Heavenly Father. God, the creator of all things is Our Heavenly Father, he didn’t stop caring for us and providing for us after creation. We belong to Him, it’s His name on our birth certificate and He takes pride in what is His. This belonging is not just a one-way street; as many in this day and age are aware, having a name listed on the mother/father line of a document gives the child legitimacy but not relationship. His intention for parents and children is to be in a relationship with one-another.

Relationships don’t just happen, they are built; built in the ongoing process of each task, milestone, practice, correcting and disciplining of a child. This is the journey part of the trip, and remember the route will have lots of interesting adventures for you along the way. It is in the relationship or journey that we develop familiarity and closeness with our mother and father that they become daddy and mama. A child relying on daddy or mama is comforted, consoled and content soon their relationship/bond grows the child can become dependent on their parent to meet their needs.

Often times in our frustration, (we) parents will say, “kids should have a book” as if having a book will tell us exactly what each cry means; which song will be the just right lullaby to put them to sleep; the right bottles for supplementing; which teacher to ask for each school year; how to prevent talking back before it ever happens; that trying to choose our teens friends for them will only backfire in your face; or prepare us with a pre-filled calendar of the drama of the week in middle school. But then wait, that means I would need a book for each one of my kids. And dang, if God spent all his time writing books for each new blessing that joins us on Earth, wouldn’t he be exhausted? (I know, I know, He’s God; He doesn’t get tired).

So let’s shake our heads and agree, we will no longer accept that saying “kids should come with a book” as our resting place when puzzled or frustrated. Our children may not have a book with them when we welcome them to Earth and that’s okay. We already have one. The Bible and it has wonderful examples of what God expects of us.

1. God knew we wouldn’t be perfect and would make many mistakes so he had a plan in place that would give us a guide for living here on Earth and demonstrate his love for us at the same time (John 3:16,17).

2. The story of the Prodigal Son, whose father prayed for him even in his rebellion and welcomed him home, fault and all (Luke 15:20-24; 31-32).

3. The Father of the sick boy, who wouldn’t give up on his child, and pressed against obstacles and naysayers to ensure his son a future (Luke 9:37-42).

If it is hard to see yourself or your situation in these role models, try Galatians 5:22-23. The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such, there is no law.

You are God’s fruit and He is Spirit. Your child is your fruit and The Holy Spirit lives in you. Therefore, the fruit of the spirit is you, comes through you, is experienced by your children and is replicated in and through them.

I pray blessings over every mother and father that we strive to be mamas and daddies to our children for the improved relationships God wants us to experience on this Journey of Parenting.I pray blessings over every mother and father that we strive to be mamas and daddies to our children for the improved relationships God wants us to experience on this Journey of Parenting.