Don’t Take Score at Halftime!
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I watch college football for HOURS every weekend. It begins with the Thursday night game and doesn’t end until I’ve checked the new rankings on Sunday mornings. We are Auburn fans here at Underwood Estates—huge Auburn fans. And while my daughter doesn’t love the game like I do, she does keep up with the scores. Sometimes, she comes in during a game and asks if it’s over yet. I say, “Nope, it’s only halftime.” And her response is, “It’s ONLY halftime?”
Sometimes, as moms, we get weary from the emotional battles of toddlerhood, tweendom, and teenagers, and we can find ourselves thinking, “It’s ONLY halftime?” We are often guilty of looking at our girls and seeing only where we have failed. We begin to allow the enemy to heap guilt onto our spirits about what we should have done and could have done. We forget, “It’s ONLY halftime!”
Jackie Kendall, in her amazing book I believe every mom should read, The Mentoring Mom, says:
“Mom, resist the urge to take score at halftime. The game is not over yet. Too many moms panic when they see a less-than-desirable quality in their child. Often this is a tutorial from the Holy One not only for the child, but also for the mom.” (180)
“Resist the urge to take score at halftime.”
Such sage counsel, friends. And even though my daughter graduated from high school this year, the game still isn’t over.
Over the years, I’ve often told Casiday, “Who you are when you’re fifteen doesn’t have to be who you are when you are twenty-five.” It’s a reminder to her to give grace to her friends and to herself. To keep the long-range in sight.
As a mom, it’s an important truth for me to remember as well: Who our children are when they are eight or even eighteen isn’t necessarily who they will be when they are twenty-eight or fifty-eight. We need to keep this simple truth in mind:
Parenting isn’t a short-term event, it’s a life-long mission.
Measuring our success and failure as mothers when our children are young is a dangerous habit. If anyone was judging my parents’ parenting skills based on my behavior at sixteen or even at twenty-two, they’d surely assume my parents had failed. But today people consistently make the statement, “Your parents raised you well.” Based on my life at forty-six, at who I have become as an adult, suddenly my parents’ inexperience and uncertainties, their mistakes, and missteps, seem of far less consequence than their steadfast love, their ongoing encouragement, and their faithful prayers.
Fathers (mothers), do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 NIV (emphasis added)
For those who, like me, long ago memorized this verse in the King James, you will recall the words “nurture and admonition” of the Lord. I love this verse! What freedom it brings. It doesn’t say, “Bring them up in the parenting style taught in your church” nor does it say, “Don’t bring them up in public school” nor does it say, “Bring them up well or you have failed.” Nope … it simply says (my paraphrase), “Raise them to know the Lord and teach them to love Him and His Word.”
Quick Greek lesson, okay?
Training: Paideia, the instruction of children, also carries the implication of chastening or discipline, because effective instruction also includes discipline and correction.
Instruction: Nouthesia, an admonition, warning, exhortation; any word of encouragement or reproof that leads to correct behavior, appeal to the conscience, will, and reason.
So, in practical terms, we need to remember that our parenting should be two things:
- Grounded in the Word of God
- Balanced between discipline/correction and encouragement.
And let’s face it, rarely is there a day when that all happens smoothly. But over the course of our children’s lives, we have the privilege of guiding, chastening (I love that word!), instructing, warning (sometimes from our own mistakes and fallings), exhorting, and encouraging.
Mommas, don’t take score at halftime! Allow God’s power to work through your efforts as you daily, moment-by-moment, entrust your child to the Lord’s hands.
How you do find yourself taking score at halftime?
∞ ABOUT THE AUTHOR ∞
Teri Lynne Underwood is a Lopsided Living encourager and girl mom cheerleader. Author of Praying for Girls: Asking God for the Things They Need Most and a Bible teacher, her greatest desire is to encourage women to dig deep into the Word and trust God’s faithfulness. She provides monthly Scripture-based prayer calendars for girl moms and invites you to join her #girlsMOMS group for even more encouragement and support. Married to her worship pastor husband Scott since 1996, she is the proud mom of Casiday, a 2018 high school graduate.