One of the Best Pieces of Parenting Advice I've Ever Heard
Thanks to Rebbetzin Feige Twerski.
Many years ago I made a decision: I was done with parenting classes. No more books, no more listening to parent classes. No more “friendly” tips and “well-meaning” advice. I was done. I had my fill with all the “wisdom” out there. I was back to intuition and prayer.
But every once in a while, there is a piece of parenting wisdom that leaps out at me, an idea so simple yet so wonderful that I wish I’d thought of it myself. And that I’d learned it in one of those many classes 30 years ago.
This one was suggested by Rebbetzin Feige Twerski in her book The New Normal. In a section of the book where she bemoans the fate of mothers and grandmothers who are usually the disciplinarians versus that of fathers and grandfathers who are usually the source of all things fun (!), she mentions a new strategy she adopted to ease her self out from under that role. In working on being more accepting and less critical, she made a wise and radical decision. When she saw a child misbehaving – her words are actually more delicate “a departure in their behavior that I deem inappropriate” – she would take up the problem with the Almighty. And she would ask Him to intervene on their behalf and give them clarity.
I was blown away by that thought and eager to try it out when confronted with similar behavior in my adult children! It takes all the sting out of the relationship and puts the responsibility where it belongs. It is so freeing in its wisdom and simplicity. And I wish I’d thought of it or knew of it so much earlier. Not just to spare my kids my critical tongue but to spare me so much anxiety and frustration.
Like so many true ideas, once they are presented to you, they seem so obvious – and so doable. You don’t need any special talent. And it applies to all children, whatever their age or abilities. And it’s adaptable. We can ask the Almighty to give them clarity – or wisdom or patience or respect or greater dignity or to think before they speak. We can go through our veritable wish list!
And we can let our breath out. Because now we’ve truly given it over to the Almighty.
It’s so funny. We know He’s in charge but it’s so hard to let go of the illusion that we are, that the right words, the right thoughts, the perfect prayers, the sophisticated strategy will make all the difference, will change our child (or spouse or parent) into just that human being we want them to be. And although we keep banging our heads up against a brick wall, we can’t seem to stop ourselves. We try the same failing strategy over and over again.
But Rebbetzin Twerski has shared with us the truly winning one. Since its not in our hands, we can only benefit from acknowledging that. We will feel freer and more relaxed. It was never in our control and we will be more patient and kinder parents once we accept that. Our children will respond to the new loving us with better behavior and, even if they don’t, we have now given that over to their Father in Heaven. Wait until He gets home!
We waste so much time struggling with our children instead of being kind to them and asking the Almighty to help. This doesn't mean we never discipline; it just means we do it much less. It's not a constant barrage. Especially when we see it doesn't really make a difference anyway! Especially when we realize it is out of ouro hands. It is the Almighty's greatest pleasure to help – especially when we ask. Once our children are born, we never stop being parents. It’s a cradle to grave job. And it’s never too late to learn some new tips – despite my previous bad attitude.