There was a mother with young children who prided herself on her children being well-behaved.
One day, she took her kids out to a festival and let her two older kids go hop in the bounce house. Suddenly, a young child emerged from the bounce house announcing that another kid was in there spitting.
The mother was absolutely appalled and horrified that a child would be so ill-behaved as to spit in a bounce house. She was just about to open the door to call her children out - ready to proclaim how nasty it was that a kid would be spitting - when her daughter stuck her head out and yelled that her brother was spitting everywhere.
Well, that changes things, doesn't it?
Suddenly, that mother's indignation turned to complete embarrassment and she quickly herded her kids away, practically exploding with reprimands and questions for her son about why he could possibly think it was a good idea to spit in a bounce house.
His answer was simple and honest: "I wanted to jump in a puddle."
And it was then that she realized that she needs to give grace in this journey of motherhood - both to herself and to other mothers. Sometimes what looks like bad parenting or poor behavior is actually just a child who wants to jump in puddles.
When I read that story in the book No More Perfect Kids: Love Your Kids for Who They Are, I was hooked. No More Perfect Kids was written by Jill Savage, the founder of Hearts at Home (who I just met last weekend!) and Dr. Kathy Koch, as a follow-up to the book No More Perfect Moms.
I got to read No More Perfect Kids a few months ago after I was chosen to be a part of the book's launch team, and I was so excited because I've read a few of Jill's other books and find them to be very encouraging.
To be honest, having a daughter born with a severe skin condition really gives you a head-start in learning to accept your kids for who they are. And for this, I am grateful.
But I feel like No More Perfect Kids took me one step further in not only personally accepting my children as God created them, but encouraging them to be who they are, getting to know them for who they are and helping them to be better versions of themselves. Not pushing unrealistic expectations upon them, but rather encouraging them to work toward THEIR best and loving all of the things that make them unique.
What was really eye-opening for me was when the book laid out the different meanings of love within Corinthians 13:4-7 and how it relates to parenting. Love is patient, love does not boast, love does not envy….within parenting, that translates to having patience as our kids learn and not comparing our child to other kids' accomplishments.
Helping our kids to know that we love and accept them for who they are makes them feel important. And feeling important can determine just about everything else - confidence, being at peace, kindness, involvement.
As the book says, "When encouragement is the norm, children will learn they can take risks, try new things, ask for help and make mistakes without the fear of losing the acceptance, love and support of their parents." I am already seeing the importance of this with Connor at age 4 as we try to make our home a place where it's OK to admit wrong - several times recently he has said "I'm sorry. I made a mistake." And we talk about how he can correct his mistakes. I love that he's not ashamed to say he was wrong.
The book also made another very important point to me: "We are human beings, not human doings. Who we are causes us to do what we do."
Because of this (as suggested in the book), I have begun to ask Connor about who he was at school that day, in addition to what he did and what he learned. Was he kind and a good listener? I think this is a great practice to continue as both my kids get older and learn that who they are is just as important (or more so) than what they do.
I first read the book on my Kindle, but I was so excited to get the paperback version, because I had some serious highlighting to do. This is something I will refer back to a lot in the coming years. No More Perfect Kids is a valuable read for parents of children at any age, from toddlers to teens. (You can watch the book trailer or read a sample chapter here.)
If you need a little encouragement on this motherhood journey or feel like you're struggling a little (or a lot) with your kids, I think you will be so moved by No More Perfect Kids.
Because we all need to give grace to ourselves and our kids, and to love our kids for who they are…even when they want to jump in their own spit puddles :)
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