One minute you’re an expert on the South Korea impeachment scandal.
The next you’re a viral video because your kids crashed your Skype interview with the BBC.
I’m sure you’ve seen the video by now—and laughed. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? I mean, not live on BBC World News discussing the South Korean president being forced out of office, but we’ve all had our kids surprise and embarrass us a little. People across the globe are laughing so much because they sympathize with Robert Kelly. Instead of claiming his fame as an associate professor of international relations in the Political Science and Diplomacy Department of Pusan National University in Busan, Korea, he is now famous for being a dad with incredibly adorable kids—and a ninjalike wife who immediately took action and scrambled to get the kids out of that room as quickly as possible. (Seriously, I’m giggling about that as I write this.)
This is the reality of parenting. One minute you have your act together; the next your children do something that leaves you stunned and trying to keep your composure. Sometimes it’s adorable. Sometimes it’s heartbreaking.
Thankfully, I haven’t seen many judgments of that family. Often, though, I do see some (and I’m guilty of this too) looking at kids’ behavior and judging their parents. “The man should have locked the office door.” “They must not care that their child is climbing over the pew in church.” “My kid would never <fill in the blank>.” “If they had been paying attention, their child wouldn’t have gotten lost.” “The parents only care about work; that’s why their teenager is out of control.” (Feel free to include any judgments you’ve made to the list.)
Parents fail; it’s true. We do make poor choices; we don’t pay attention perfectly; we make mistakes. Sometimes, frankly, we don’t care at that moment because we’re just so tired and worn. Then there are the times when we do everything “right” and our children still leave us shaking our heads.
Criticism isn’t going to encourage you, and it isn’t going to encourage other parents to keep going. You know what does? The story of the Father who created a perfect world. The first two humans (Adam and Eve) crashed that party by their choices. God was not stunned, but he immediately took action with a plan to save them. When the time was right, because God so loved the world, he sent his only Son to redeem the world. That makes us his children, and nothing we do can make him love us more. Nothing we do can make him love us less. The grace that he gave to Adam and Eve is the grace that he gave to us. And that’s the grace we pass along to other parents. It’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance; it’s his mercy that encourages us to keep trying; it’s his grace that allows us to laugh, compose ourselves for a moment, and keep going.
Linda Buxa is a mother of three kids. She wrote Parenting by Prayer, a booklet of prayers for parents to give voice to their fears, to express their joys, and to spend time with the One who loves to give them peace and rest.