I like to chat with elderly people to see if I might glean some gems of wisdom from them. I had one such occasion two days ago when a few of us were gathered for music and singing. I mentioned some parental tension I was experiencing—my desire to show our children forgiveness but wanting to discipline and teach them respect at the same time. Sometimes it appears those two things don't meld together. Oftentimes I don't feel like I'm being gracious toward my children when I'm getting after them for misbehaving. And I don't like that.
My elderly friend, with great tenderness, blinked her eyes, offered a tiny smile and told me, "Well, yes, you love them." And she said she found something similar going on between herself and her husband. He's been cynical lately and she's been struggling with it. She admitted she hasn't been treating him with all that much graciousness, but she's noticed she is being corrected as she goes. The main thing, she said, was to trust God and let her actions spring from there.
Parenting, then, is about awareness of Love. It's not about getting it right, but learning as we go. I think I'm at my parental best when I'm aware, when I love and forgive myself, when I believe we are all being cared for by One who loves us more than we understand.