• Jennifer Hastings

Corn Muffins and Integrity

Updated: Oct 9, 2019

Deuteronomy 11:18-21

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the door frames of your house and your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that that the Lord swore to give your forefathers, as many days that heavens are above the earth.

If someone asked you what is your ultimate parenting goal, would you have an answer? Or would you need to mull it over a little while?

Sometimes, if we are not careful, we can lose sight of our end goal. Maybe you haven’t really thought about it that way. Recently, I been finding myself pondering the end goal verses daily surviving in parenting. Believe me, sometimes surviving is all you can think of with three crazies flitting around your house. Culture is pushing parents to be so concerned about what experiences and activities we provide for our kids, rather than what kind of people we are creating.

Let’s face it, most of our kids are not becoming professional basketball players or Juilliard dancers. Yet we spend all of our time running them here and there. Are we pressuring ourselves to keep up with everyone else’s ideal life, at the expensive of our children’s happiness? What kind of pressure do our kids feel? Do they feel our love is contingent on their latest game day stats or do they feel loved regardless of their performance?

I think there is a temptation for women to wear their children like a piece of jewelry instead of giving them room and space to become who God intended them to be. They do not belong to us. They are their own people destined to make their mark on the world. We need to live our life in front of them and live it well, not live through them.

Kids need room to breathe and they need to fail. I say that because they need to know how to handle disappointment in life. When your child doesn't make the team, get the part in the school play, or make the grade… How do you react? I believe our reaction to their failure is fertile training ground. Our chance to teach them critical lessons in life.

Flashback to 6th grade

All sorts of panic hits me, when I see Buffy bebopping into the cafeteria... her long brown braid swinging behind her. It was what she was holding that sent me into a tailspin. She was holding a basket full of freshly baked 4-H muffins. How could I have forgotten the assignment?

“What is wrong?” Buffy asked, seeing the blood drain out of my face.

At this point, I am almost hyperventilating. I have never forgotten an assignment before! I am the kid that always has her homework. “I forgot...now I am going to get a zero. You heard her... she said... if we didn’t complete the 4-H assignment, we would get a zero.” I put my head down on the table to hide my newly formed tears. What will happen to my grade? I’ve never had a zero before?

“Why don’t you take some of mine? Then, you won’t get a zero. I have extra.” Buffy said, rubbing my back.

Her solution was music to my ears. I wanted to swipe those muffins right out of her hands that very instant. It seemed like the perfect solution to saving my grade except that, well, something didn’t feel quite right.

“Okay, Buffy, Wow! That is so nice of you. Let’s stop by my mom’s class and see if she thinks that would be okay.” Surely Mom, would not want me to get a zero and if she thinks it is okay, then all will be good. When we are released from the cafeteria, we head to the second grade hall. Mom never lets me interrupt her class, but we still have about ten minutes before school starts.

When I see her, I cry a little as I give my lame excuses for forgetting the project. I choke out my pitiful story… “She said... I could have some of hers. What do you think?” My eyes lock with hers. I can see instantly she does not like this plan.

She leans down and whispers in my ear, “You know that wouldn’t be the right thing to do. Thank you for coming to me though, but you have the courage and ability to tell your teacher you forgot.” She hugs me and smiles.

My mom made that day about honesty, guts, and communication. She saw the end result of her parenting. She valued character over performance. She did not bail me out. She let me fail and I was better for it. I’m not lying, when I say, there are plenty of moms out there earning college degrees for their kids. Don’t write their papers or do their projects! The process of failing or succeeding should be theirs.

As an educator, you see and deal with many different parenting styles. Some parents are so concerned with their kids being number one, they don’t seem to care their child was disrespectful to the coach or had a toddler fit on the sidelines.

This leads me to setting my end goals as a parent:

  1. Raise an independent person. I want to raise a child that will have the smarts to make their own decisions, earn their own money, and do it with integrity.

  2. Raise a person that is comfortable in their own skin. I hope to nurture their strengths, but let them know they will never be perfect.

  3. Raise a communicator. A person that knows how to love fiercely, fight fairly, and freely forgive. I'm raising them to be a good spouse one day.

Hopefully, having these goals will help me fight the temptation to make life easier for my kids, but to work on creating a safe place to fail and learn how to deal with life... because the struggle is real!

I bet most of you, know your company’s mission and vision statement. Do you have one for your family? The world does a great job of distracting us from the things that matter the most... like what kind of person are you raising.

I challenge you to write a family mission statement or your own parenting goals in the comments section. I would love to see and hear your unique parenting goals.

It would also be nice to hear from parents that are on the other side and have raised contributing citizens....share with us just how you did it.

The way I see it, we can’t afford not to be intentional in our parenting. If we don’t have a vision for our family, we are at the mercy of what society sets as normal.

Other family stories:

Make it a Combo

Bee Stings and Turtle Turds

Ten Years and Taylor Swift

#parenting #familymissionstatement #Deuteronomy1118

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