Six thousand pairs of eyes stared at me as I ran to the front of the stage in a panic. If I had been speaking or singing I would’ve been fine, but to my horror it was my parenting skills that were being displayed for all to see.
I had been holding our very wiggly 3 year old daughter, trying to keep her quiet without causing a scene. My precious parents-in-love had been married 50 years and Campus Crusade for Christ (the organization they co-founded) was in full celebration mode! The arena filled with staff and friends watched as our family gathered on the platform to honor them. My little wiggle worm kept begging to be let down. In desperation I whispered that I would let her down if she stood right by me… You know what happened don’t you?
The minute her feet touched the stage she took off. Her goal was the skirted table at the end of the stage displaying a beautiful wedding cake. I could feel all the eyes watching my “cherub” dash under the skirt. If she had stopped to take a lick of the cake everyone would have laughed, “Isn’t that cute? Don’t we all want to do that?” As it was, all I heard was the sudden intake of air as thousands of mothers watched and thought, “I’m glad that’s not me!”
I would have left her under the table but I was afraid she would try to crawl out the other side and immediately fall off the end of the stage. So I walked the lonely 20 feet to the table, lifted the skirt and found the frilly dressed imp smiling at me. “Come here.” I whispered in my best ‘obey or else’ tone. She smiled at the game. “No!” she laughed, inching away from me and dangerously close to the edge.
At that moment I’m ashamed to say that I wasn’t thinking about my daughters safety. I was thinking about what everyone would say about my parenting skills. I knew my daughter. She wouldn’t budge until she was ready, but if I pulled her out I knew she could go into full tantrum mode. I thought of the Growing Kids God’s Way people and knew I would be a disappointment. I thought of the great advice from Dr. Dobson on raising a strong willed child and knew I’d blown it… So I did the only thing I knew to do, I prayed…quickly! “God, please let her obey me this once!” I looked her in the eyes, “Come with Mommy now.”
To my amazement, she crawled out, took my hand and stood quietly beside me until the program was over. God is merciful!!
There’s actually no ‘aha’ moment to wow you with. I’m sure we all could evaluate my parenting skills and come up with some suggestions, but the reality is our kids are just like us…in progress. I’m not a bad parent if my child acts up in public now and then. Neither are you. My kids aren’t bad kids if they act up in public now and then…and neither are yours. We’re all in progress. We do our best as parents, learn from mistakes and pray without ceasing…