Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Encouraging Parent

I've been co-teaching Trek AWANA for the past month and I love it.


Did I just say I love teaching middle schoolers?

Who would have thunk it? It's amazing. There's much more in my head to impart about God and life then there are hours in AWANA. How to fit it all in, is the challenge--as well as working with the fact that I don't speak as clearly as I can write.

However, when we arrive home I find myself second guessing everything I said, even though I prepared very well. Did I offend this person or that person? Will they take it to heart or ignore it? I stay awake after teaching and drive myself crazy. Because I love teaching I find it very stimulating, which is part of the wide-awake issue.

My sons are in my class and Paul says, unsolicited, that I'm a great teacher, and he praises how much work I put into it.

So, why do I suffer with these self-doubts? I mean...I love it! And spiritual gift inventories indicate I have a teaching/knowledge/exhortation/discernment gift, which should help me work in this capacity confidently.

I've noticed that my boys' spiritual gift results are fairly similar to mine, and the top four gifts are all closely related.

Anyway, I've wracked my brain about my confidence conundrum because although we serve others to bring glory to God, we still need to feel personally good about it to make the experience as positive as possible--and to allow us the energy to keep going. Serving is always an expenditure of energy and time, no matter our gift package.

I recognize dysfunctional thinking here, based upon everything I've read about our thoughts and how they can trap us and hold us back in life. Not every thought represents truth. For example, when you look in the mirror at your aging face, you might see ugliness compared to what your face once was, but that doesn't mean other people see ugliness. The thought that you are ugly is probably not valid and should be discarded for your own good. It's a matter of filtering and constantly remembering that not every thought deserves our time and consideration.

Dysfunctional thought patterns can come from growing up in a dysfunctional home. It has taken some time for me to figure this out, but because my mother was jealous of my accomplishments, I had to curb my excitement or my competence to suit her. She left me second-guessing whether I should be happy with myself or not. Consequently, it took me a long time to reach a reasonable level of self-confidence. I still struggle with this, but at least I recognize it as dysfunction now.

And the best thing? God has used this lesson to help me become a very encouraging mother. I know the importance of pointing out children's strengths so they can believe themselves capable of anything God sets before them. We don't recognize our own strengths as readily as a keen observer does, who can see the issue from the sidelines. As parents, we are that keen observer, that cheerleader, that coach, that encourager.

We are the wind beneath their wings (next to the Holy Spirit), and once they're flying, we can relax and enjoy the view, not to mention praising the Lord for His divine guidance, and thanking him for the beautiful journey.


Anonymous said...

Amen! See the good that God can make from the leftovers of the bad :-)

Beth Bullington said...

It sounds like you are enjoying Trek.