Monday, March 3, 2014

The Best Parenting Tool You Will Ever Have

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If there was one thing I could ever impress upon you--one thing to get you to do to be the best parent you can be--it would be to utilize prayer. Prayer is the best parenting tool you can use.

Prayer is useful no matter the age of your child. I have always used prayer to ask for guidance as I am raising my children. I pray for wisdom and insight when I have a new baby. I need to get to know this baby and know how to best help this baby be content. I pray for strength to face the days and nights with a newborn.

With toddlers, I pray for patience (okay, all ages require that prayer). I pray to know when to send children to school. I pray to keep my children safe at school. I pray to know the right thing to say and how to best discipline my children. I pray for them spiritually, emotionally, socially, and physically. I pray they will have good experiences in their extra curriculars. 

We pray as a family before we go to bed at night. 

We teach our children to pray on their own.

Each morning before my children head off to school, we gather for a prayer to help us through the day. 

The Lord knows your children better than anyone. He also wants you to succeed as a parent even more than you want you to succeed. He wants the best for your children. If you ask for help, you will get it. 

I also want you to know that I pray as I consider what to write for this blog. I take it seriously. As I answer your questions you send me, I approach them prayerfully. As I say that, I wouldn't ever want you to take what I say over what you believe to be what is best for your child. Always trust yourself. Your "gut" and instincts are often proddings from the Lord guiding you. I know the power of prayer is real because I have experienced it. 

I want to share a simple story to illustrate. 

One day about 2-3 years ago, my children were playing in my earshot as I did some sewing. I heard one child say something rather inappropriate. I called for that child to come to me. Inside, my blood was boiling. I was very upset the child had said what had been said (and today, I can't even remember what it was, but I do know it was something I wouldn't want my children saying). As the child walked to me, I prayed for wisdom and to be calm. When the child got to me, I knew all of the right things to say. I was calm and loving as I corrected the child. What could have been a moment of anger turned into a teaching moment for both of us. 

No matter how seemingly trivial your parenting dilemmas might seem to you in the grand scheme of the universe, the Lord cares about you and your child and He will guide you as you strive to be the best parent you can be. Keep the tool of prayer handy and well-used. It will serve you well as you parent your children.

6 comments:

Rachel Norman said...

Val, this is so true! Since my first was born I always prayed God would show me what to do in good timing and it's been amazing that He has. I've read something seemingly random a few days before I NEEDED to know it. I've been given a book (like Babywise) in perfect timing. God surely has a way of equipping us to do the job He's called us to do :)

Valerie Plowman said...

For sure!

Steph said...

I love this message! It is especially inspiring to me right now as I'm preparing a talk about prayer for sacrament meeting this Sunday :) Thank you for sharing!

Jennifer Sebolka said...

Thank you for writing this and for sharing your story. I'm now wondering why I haven't prayed more often. It seems so simple. Now, I will!

Jennifer Sebolka said...

Thank you for writing this and for sharing your story. I'm now wondering why I haven't prayed more often. It seems so simple. Now, I will!

KaitHudson said...

Hi - This is my first time reading your blog and am so blessed to have run across it! I appreciated this post so much as prayer has been my saving grace as a new mom! I just had my first baby 7 weeks ago on January 16th and to say that my husband and I have been over our heads is an understatement! Our little Vivianna is such a joy - the only issues that arise have nothing to do with her, but with my sweet husband and I trying to figure out this new life changing dynamic! I had been told of babywise before Vivi arrived and my husband and I both read it and decided it was for us. Only this week I realized we hadn't really been doing babywise at all - only a watered down 3 hr eat/play/sleep routine. We would wake whenever we woke for the day, and eat approximately every 3 hours. Naps happened in spurts here or there. However, she would consistently go about a five hour stretch at night (still having two nighttime feedings though). If we went to bed a ten she would wake at 3, and then again at 6, and we may get up for the day anywhere from 8:30-9:00. I was still very stressed with this lose schedule though because I couldn't plan my day at all. I reread several chapters in babywise and realized I wasn't doing it right at all. We had no morning wake time and no bedtime at all. Yesterday I implemented a wake time of 7:30 and started a 3 hour routine. It went off without a hitch! Vivi took to it and woke/ate/played right on que. I didn't even have to wake her at the 3 hour mark and she didn't fuss at all for naps. She would wake herself after a 1.5 or 2 hr nap ready to go! And no evening crying! The trouble came last night though. She went down to bed at 8 (the earliest yet!), I gave her a 10:30 dream feed, and then the mysterious thing happened. I anticipated 1 nightime feed with the new schedule. But she ditched her usual 5 hour stretch and woke up at 2 oddly and fussed a while. She has never ever fussed during the middle of the night. She was then restless the whole night until waking again at 5:20 (way earlier than the 7:30 goal). It was the most tiring night for me since she was one week old. The schedule has gone off again today without a hitch. It's so nice to have time to get things done! But, I am afraid I simply exchanged our peaceful nights for a relaxing day though. I feel like I have to choose which is better. Do you think this is just a temporary transition period, or do I need to revamp something? Thank you so much for your time. I apologize for my lengthy post! You and your blog have been a huge blessing for me.

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