I am not Sherlock Holmes. I hate it when there is some broken item that “nobody” broke. An unclaimed dish that “nobody” used.
I can not STAND it when I ask who dun’it, and everybody responds all at once, “NOT ME!”
But when I narrow my eyes and raise one eyebrow, every child knows–I am not giving up. I will get to the bottom of exactly who “nobody” is.
I have had more than one mom write and ask me the sticky question of what to do when you are not 100% sure of who exactly committed the crime at hand. Without sounding callous or weird, it really is a two part answer…the first part may seem callous, and the second part may come across weird, but just keep in mind that I have a three grown kiddos (20, 18,and 17) who are all normal…no one too emotionally scarred by my detective methods…
First off, give yourself a break.
Cut yourself some slack.
Last time I checked, I wasn’t Jesus, and you aren’t either, so just get real with the fact that you are going to make mistakes as a parent and you may make doe bad calls. These blunders and miscalculations do not in any way disqualify you from your job or disprove your authority. They just prove your human. If you judge a situation wrongly, and punish a child for something they didn’t do, I am sure it will happen less than five times in the span of their childhood. Likely they will only ever remember one or two of them. If they even begin to grow up and remind you of them, put them in their place quickly by telling them out of the thousands of judgements you make as a parent, if they can only recall a couple of mistakes, that’s still way above an A+ average, so get over it. (Said with all the love, kindness and compassion I can muster. Kids that hold grudges over their parents for mistakes made really grind my goat…but that’s another issue altogether.)
And secondly, never discount the power you have in your corner from the Holy Spirit. Scripture calls the Holy Spirit the Helper, the Counselor, the Comforter and the Advocate (another way to say attorney!). I can not even count the number of times I have shot up a quick prayer for discernment in a “who dun’it” situation and heard a quick response. Maybe I hear the name, I get a sense of a better question to ask for discernment, or notice something about their body language I had previously overlooked. As the big girls have aged, they tell me now that the times they lied or tried to cover up their wrongdoing, 100 times out of a 100 I had called it right. They laugh and say they had no idea HOW I knew who did what. I would tell them constantly, “You’ll never get away with anything. God’s on my side, and the Holy Spirit will always tell me the truth about a situation.” And in Bible study this week, I found these words of Jesus that I felt any mom could understand.
John chapter five in the Message version:
“I can’t do a solitary thing on my own: I listen, then I decide. You can trust my decision because I’m not out to get my own way but only to carry out orders. If I were simply speaking on my own account, it would be an empty, self-serving witness. But an independent witness confirms me, the most reliable Witness of all. ”
Jesus here is speaking about Himself and the Holy Spirit. But the truth is, these words could easily be written about any believing mom.
You don’t parent alone, you have a Helper.
You listen to your kids, you listen for the Spirit and then you decide. If you were out to get your own way in life, you wouldn’t have had children in the first place…because being a mom means you come last–forever. Your never speaking on your own account as a parent, you are forever speaking on, for and about other people.
So let that Witness confirm you, let the Spirit lead you…and if you make a mistake every once in a while, so what.
Give yourself the freedom to realize that as a parent you WILL make mistakes. But in the end, it is all covered by the blood and grace of Jesus Christ.