Something Important That I Have Learned From My Parents

I am reading through Melissa Kruger’s new book, Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood, for review. This is not the review. It’s just a reflection about something Kruger says on p. 3. While explaining that this is not a book about parenting, she says this about the season of raising children: “it is easy to become so consumed with the doing that we forget to reflect and think about who we are becoming as we raise our children.”
Whether we come from a great home or a highly dysfunctional one, I’m pretty confident that most of us come out of our childhood with a list of things that we will do differently with our own children. We are thankful for all the good that we may have inherited from our parents, and we are ready to combine that with our even better, more enlightened ways.
I entered motherhood eager to pass down some of my unique family traits and values to my children, while also ready to incorporate my edified philosophies to rock this whole parenting thing. It was going to be awesome. Now I have been married for almost 18 years, a mom for almost 16 of them, and am a bit more insecure about our parenting awesomeness. And now our children have entered that age range that has always loomed over me with fear and trepidation. What list are they already concocting in their still-forming minds about how they will do things better? Which values and traits will they want to hand down to their own children? 
Thankfully, I have learned a thing or two in the process. And I’m actually still learning from my own parents. Something that has blessed me as a mother immensely is seeing the amazing spiritual growth still happening in them. I want to be perfect. I want my kids to see that I have it all together and I think that gives me the credibility for the authority of parenting. I struggle with how transparent to be with my children about my own failures and need for growth. And I think this takes wisdom and spiritual discernment. But I know I tend to fault on the side of making myself look more spiritually mature than I really am, whether at the stage I am in now, or when I talk about myself when I was their age.
While what I am doing is very important to my witness to my children and my own sanctification, it is imperative for my kids to see that I am still very much in need of God’s abundant grace and I have a long way to go toward Christ-likeness. Having conversations with my parents now where they share their own growth is a witness to me of God’s faithfulness in getting us there. We all need the same thing when it comes to our sanctification and none of us are fully grown. This helps me to combat the trepidation of what’s ahead in parenting teenagers, as well as the fear of not measuring up when they look back on these years. It also encourages me in the ordinary means that God has provided for all of his children.
I am reminded of who my children really belong to. Our Heavenly Father doesn’t give us a sanctified formula for education, how many sports to have them participate in, who it’s okay to ride with in a car, what age to start dating, or how late of a curfew they should have. But he provides everything in Christ that we need as parents and they need as children. And he has promised to complete the work in which he has begun.
Parenting is extremely humbling. As my children get older, I think it gets more humbling. Sure, I want to have credibility with them now by doing all I can to parent in a godly way. But I also want my kids to parent better than me. That will be a compliment and praise that they are continuing to grow in the Lord, as well as a testimony of his faithfulness to his own legacy.