I was talking with a friend of mine last night about teachable moments. She was telling me about her morning and how she wished she had used a frustrating moment with her preteen as a teachable moment instead of getting frustrated and ending the discussion.
We've all been there when we respond to our kids out of frustration instead of with a teacher's heart. We've ended the conversation with a "Because I said so" or disciplined our kids without using the moment to teach. There are lots of reasons we do it. We're busy. We're tired. We don't see the possibilities for teaching until the moment has passed.
Our kids' childhoods are filled with teachable moments. The truth is we're going to catch and use some of them, and some of them are going to pass us by. Sometimes, we're going to be too tired, too stressed, too overwhelmed to teach in the moment.
When we miss the teachable moment, we have choices. We can beat ourselves up over it or we can be ready for the next one. Every day of your child's life is going to bring you a teachable moment or two. You're going to get plenty of second chances.
We've all been fed the lie that in order to have great kids who grow into great adults, we have to do everything perfectly. We have to grab every teachable moment. We have to say exactly the right things at the right moment. We seem to think that if we follow a certain model or a certain parenting method, then our kids will turn out the way we want.
We need to stop beating ourselves up and trying to be the "perfect" parents. We need to allow ourselves to make mistakes, to miss the teachable moment without getting mired in regret. We're not perfect. We're never going to be.
There's no one way to raise great kids. There's no magic formula. There's no one parenting book that's going to help us raise kind, compassionate, strong, Christ-following kids.
Growing up is a process and so is parenting. What works for one child or one family may not work for yours. God's love is based on grace. He forgives us when we screw things up. He gives us new opportunities to try again each day, which is why we need to give ourselves some grace in our parenting.
Did you miss a teachable moment? Look for the next one.
Did you get angry with your kids when you shouldn't have? Ask for their forgiveness and move on.
Did you give your child advice that backfired? Learn from the experience and offer different advice next time.
Don't get mired in your mistakes as a parent. Learn what you can from them and get back in the game. God is offering you grace that covers your mistakes. Offer yourself some as well so that next time you can grab the teachable moment when it comes around.