I spent Friday and Saturday night at our church's women's retreat. The theme for the retreat was "Rejoice!" I came home Saturday night tired but feeling refreshed and renewed. Then I promptly blew it as a parent. I met my family at my oldest daughter's indoor soccer game. She had played an outdoor game in the snow earlier in the day, and her indoor game finished about the time she usually goes to bed. I was exhausted from staying up late the night before and teaching twice on Saturday. She was clearly exhausted from the sleepover she'd had while I was gone and playing two games that day. The combination did not end well.
As we were driving home from soccer my girls took turns telling me about the past two days. My oldest daughter told me she had forgotten to take the stuff to school for her science project and had gotten a 0 for the assignment. She also told me that her friends had given her some of their stuff but when her teacher asked her if she had brought her own stuff from home, she told him the truth and got the 0.
Did I take advantage of this opportunity to praise my child for taking her lumps even though a small lie would have saved her grade? Did I take a moment to encourage her for telling the truth instead of taking the easy way out? Nope. I took the opportunity to lecture her on responsibility, and after she went to bed, I wanted to smack myself.
God had given me a moment in which I got to see how everything we've been trying to teach our daughter about honesty has paid off. He offered me the chance to support and encourage her to do what's right even when there are no rewards. And I passed it up to focus on the less important issue.
Sure, my daughter needed to be reminded of the fact that she needs to be responsible for her homework, but what she really needed was to know that she had done the right thing in telling the truth. She looked to me to provide that for her, and I blew it.
So, what do we do when we mess up? Because it is inevitable that we are going to blow it on a regular basis. We pick ourselves up. Ask for forgiveness and move on.
Yesterday, I apologized to my daughter and offered her the praise and encouragement I should have offered her in the first place. We did talk about how she needs to be responsible for her assignments, but we didn't dwell on it.
I also asked God to forgive me for completely screwing up the opportunity he had given me and asked him to continue to offer up situations for me to teach my kids. The wonderful thing about God is that He forgives us and separates our sin from us, if we ask. 1 John 1:9 says "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
Memorize this verse this week and know that God is faithful, even when we blow it. If we ask, He will forgive us and offer us new opportunities.
So, if you've blown it with your kids this weekend. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, ask both God and your kids for forgiveness and be intentional in looking for the next opportunity to love and guide your children.