Gene and I love the show, Madame Secretary*. It is about a female Secretary of State, of course, and her family. She and her husband were friends with the President before he became President and before she became Secretary of State. On one episode the couple is in their bedroom getting ready for bed and discussing the day’s events (I forgot to mention he is a CIA operative from time to time). Madame Secretary is in bed bemoaning everything going wrong and nothing seeming to be going right. Her husband asked her, “What did Conrad [the President] tell you when you took this job?”
She pulled the covers over her head and exhaled, “To not expect immediate results.”
I thought—What great advice for many situations in our lives.
Parenting especially comes to mind.
Don’t expect immediate results when. . .
- Potty-training a child.
- Teaching a teen to drive.
- Teaching a four-year-old how to make her bed and pick up her things.
- Teaching a child to read.
- Helping a preteen navigate peer pressure.
- Nurturing your parent/child relationship in his teens when he seems to have lost his interest in speaking to you—ever again.
The key to all these situations and the thousands more you will experience as a parent is persistence in doing what you know to do and passion for your child.
Keep Going. There are almost an infinite number of ways to potty-train a child. Many parents think they have the secret to the only way, but that is not true. What worked for one of your kids may not work for the next. Whether the situation is potty-training or nurturing your relationship with you child in a difficult season, keep asking God for wisdom and direction. Ask Him to show you where to go for help if needed. He will–James 1:5.
Parenting requires a constant interaction with God for wisdom and strength. Believe me, I know. Nothing has caused me to pray more than my role as mom. I prayed to become pregnant before each pregnancy. Then Katie’s first grade year drew me to pray even more. She had a tough adjustment period. A friend suggested, “Pray for her every time you drive by her school.” I didn’t drive by several times a day, but her idea prompted me to pray for her throughout the day. Pray for what you need and what your child needs. God is working in both of you (John 5:17 and Philippians 2:13).
Remember You Are Her Only Mom. Keeping your passion for your child as your motivation may be the only thing keeping you going sometimes. There were times in Katie’s trying young adult years—after the difficult season of her teen years—that I wanted to stop trying to be a good mom. After those thirty seconds passed I thought, No! I can’t give up on her! She is my daughter. I cannot give up. I won’t give up!
No matter what situation your child is in he needs his parents to love him and hang in there with him. Whether your child is learning to write his name or she is dating a guy who is not good for her—don’t expect immediate results. Keep loving. Keep being the parent who cares. Keep being available. God has given us our lifetimes to become more like His Son. We can do the same for our kids.
For more ideas on how to love your child no matter what, check out Love No Matter What: When Your Kids Make Decisions You Don’t Agree With.
Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.