Beware of Pride
I had the thoughts in my head as I sat there that my kids are this well behaved because of my parenting.
Kera Birkeland (Mountain Green, Utah)
Child Care Faculty/Preschool Owner
My husband and I spent over 7 years as foster parents. We have attended at least 100 hours of parenting classes/trainings. In addition to that, I spent time as a peer parent and received even more extensive parental training. Add those to my 7 years in the child care industry and hundreds of hours working with child phycologists and therapists for our 12 foster children and it is safe to say I have a lot of opinions and ideas when to comes to parenting.
Pride goeth before the fall
What I didn't realize, until today, was that I had a LOT of pride in my heart when it comes to parenting. When reading the Doctrine and Covenants, you can find the term "Beware of Pride" three times. Today, while sitting in the chapel, I felt as though the Lord had had enough of my prideful heart.
I sat on my bench seat with my husband and 5 kids. Everyone was sitting nicely and looking relatively put together (our church meets at 1:00pm so I am not sure why I felt as though this was some sort of accomplishment). My children, while not perfect, they are easy going, with very limited behavior problems. I had the thoughts in my head as I sat there that my kids are this well behaved because of my parenting. Then, with my pride stirred up, I started thinking of all the sisters whose children struggled behaviorally. The words came into my mind, "Well that's a parenting problem that must come from the mother." No sooner than those words came into my mind did the spirit come crushing into my heart. It felt like the weight of a ton of bricks came upon my body. The spirit testified to me that those children are God's children and those mothers are exactly who those children need. God sent those children to those mothers because of their incredible abilities as mothers and daughters of God.
Shame of judging others
I almost felt as though I couldn't breathe. I felt ashamed. I sat there like a child who had just been scolded by her parents -- but I also felt absolute love and valued as a mother. The spirit reminded me of the amazing parents who I have had the opportunity to associate with as ward disability specialist. A family that I love and cherish came quickly to my mind.
They have a young boy with Down Syndrome. I love and connect with this young boy. He is a friend that I feel I have known for much longer than here on earth. With the help of the spirit, I realized that just as my young friend's parents were specifically chosen, so are all parents. The Lord knows where to send his most choice spirits. I have witnessed this time and time again with the young men and women in my area who have disabilities. I have seen their parent's goodness, their knowledge, and strength.
I am ashamed of my pride. I am sorry for my judgments. Yet, I am grateful for the spirit testifying to me the love of the Lord, not just for His children, but for mothers as well. It was a sure testimony to me that God makes no mistakes when sending children to righteous mothers and fathers on this earth. I quickly saw the mothers around me in my life as His daughters and as valued mothers--mothers that I should support, uplift, and LEARN from.
It is my hope that I will be taught, often, of the pride that is in my heart. I want to see it, feel it, repent of it, and be better. I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who will teach and guide me.
Kera – Thank you for your honestly and beautiful thoughts on this. I have found myself thinking the same things at times and too have felt shame for it. I also wonder why my kids turned out so great and my sweet friends, who are great mothers, have children that struggle and cause them (the mothers) so much heart-ache. Am I lucky, more blessed or not the parent who could have handled a challenge? I’m not sure, but you have me thinking. Thank yoU!!