How Do I Become a Better Parent?

Some people feel offended when they hear things like “the most important job a woman can do is to be a mother.” I suppose it would be better to say “the most important job a person can do is to be a parent.” In any case, these statements and similar ones are often met with a laundry list of other important jobs in an attempt to refute the original assertion.

“What about curing cancer?”

“What about saving lives?”

Of course, curing cancer is incredibly important as well. However, being a parent is even more important because of its enormous influence over at least one life. Parenting is more important in the sense that it can make the difference between raising the child who goes on to cure cancer and raising the child who, while he had all of the innate skills necessary for curing cancer, didn't do so because his parents led him down a different path. So much of a person’s life depends on his or her parents. They determine where a child lives, where he goes to school, what religion he practices in early life, and the type of people he associates with. Every aspect of a person’s life depends on her parents. Parents are the most influential people in a person’s life, whether for better or for worse. In that sense, parents make or break a child’s success. For that reason, parenting is the most important job a person can have.

All of this to say that despite my belief in the importance of parenting, I still struggle so much with patience when it comes to my kids. I yelled at my three year old son yesterday more abrasively than I care to admit…again. I apologized to him as I always do. I felt absolutely horrible about myself as I always do. And I felt genuine fear for how my lack of patience is affecting him.

There are countless vlogs and blogs and celebrities who talk about how difficult parenting is. They offer techniques and advice. Some parenting techniques work better than others, but the one thing that I have never been able to overcome is implementing the techniques on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter how good the technique is as long as I am not entirely and completely conformed to the ideal parent who implements the technique. In that case, we have blog articles that pat us on the back for trying our best, letting us know we are not alone, but offering nothing substantial. Because we’re tired and low on energy, we are told that it’s normal to snap at your kids from time to time.

I am not satisfied with this.

I am not satisfied with being normal. This is the most important thing in the world and I feel like I am screwing it up. I need more than to hear about solidarity. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a place for solidarity and comforting people who are battling darkness. But I need to become a better parent. It is of the utmost significance. And the more people who agree with me, the sooner we will have an entire generation of children standing on a higher moral platform, who will put past generations to shame. I am doing my part for the future of the world when I decide that I need to do better.

It didn’t take long for me to realize what needs to change.

It’s prayer.

I know that praying more is the obvious answer for some. And to others it will sound foolish. But I am going to lay out some real solid changes that I am going to make to ensure that I will pray more for myself, my husband, and my children. I want to completely abandon myself to becoming better.

#1 Wake up Earlier
This one will vary from person to person. Those of you who have enough alone time everyday may not need to do this. For me, I need to wake up earlier if I want time for prayer.
A few ideas for prayer include:
  • ·         Reading Scripture
Scripture is the actual word of God. Reading the word of God should be a no-brainer if I want to feel more at peace. What better way to feel peace than to dwell on the mind of God through the scriptures. As a Catholic, I will want to read the scripture passages that are said at Mass for that day. But really, any scripture is better than no scripture.
  • ·        Daily Rosary
The practice of reciting a daily rosary has been attributed to a number of saints. The power of the rosary is immeasurable. Therefore, it is worth finding the time to pray it on a consistent basis.

  • ·        Meditation
When I say meditation, I mean a prayerful meditation. Doing this helps me embrace a spirit of calmness that sets me up for the whole day. I close my eyes and focus only on Jesus. I block out every single distraction and listen to whatever God wants to reveal to me.

#2 Listen to Praise and Worship
Singing praise and worship songs is a powerful form of prayer. I usually sing a little bit everyday, but I really don’t want to spend a whole lot of time singing. However, I can leave the music on in the background for a good portion of my day. I’m not sure that it qualifies as prayer, but it does help set the tone and create a more harmonious environment.

#3 Pray with Kids before Bedtime
This should probably be #1 because praying for your children only does a fraction of the work that praying with your children can do. By praying with your kids, you’re teaching them something of infinite value. Even a simple prayer before bed will help your kids associate prayer with love. Even if your own prayer life falls apart, if your children pray on their own, you have already won a great battle.

I am convinced that praying more is what is missing from the conversation about motherhood. Yes, I know all of the techniques. I know that every child is different and requires different forms of discipline. However, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matt 26:41. If I want to guard myself against those moments of human error, I need help from a divine master.


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