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Last night John and I watched “Supernanny”, this time called “SuperMANNY”.  Instead of the assertive Jo from England, confident and caring Mike from the US intervened.  We don’t know if he was just filling in or if the particular situation needed his maleness and expertise.  He offered lots of advice to the parents, of course, about being consistent, keeping their cool when disciplining and being positive.  He especially got on the mom’s case about being negative toward her kids all the time.  She would criticize them but never praise them.  He got after the dad for losing his temper and becoming explosive with the kids.  Hmmmm…both are easy traps to fall into when you’re tired or hurting, which these parents were.

One day while the dad and son did chores and so forth around the house, Mike was right there giving the dad tips about discipline, encouraging him by saying things like, “Go after him, be consistent.  Don’t let him just walk away from you.  Keep your cool.  You’re doing great.”  He followed the dad around all day and helped him.  The day went well and the father and son ended up feeling better about each other in the end.

The next day the mom and the kids went to a nearby mall.  This time, Mike stayed at a distance with a little mini-mic.  He had given an earpiece to the mom so he could encourage her and give her tips the same way he did with the dad, “Say something positive now, keep your voice calm.  Don’t let her talk to you like that without saying something about it….”  etc.   Both of the parents were so glad for his help and remarked that they wished he could do that all the time.  John and I felt the same – we want Mike to follow us around and give us advice in his little mini-mic!

Being a parent is at the same time thrilling and terrifying.  It is rewarding and exhausting.  It is fun and painful.  There were many times when the girls were little that I would go into my bathroom and close the door to have a quick talk with God, “You said you would help me and give me wisdom when I asked You.  Well, I need it RIGHT NOW!” as little hands knocked on the door and little voices kept repeating, “mommy, mommy!”  Oh my.  I’m surprised I didn’t go gray or lose all my hair before my 30th birthday.  I also remember all the hugs, the hand holding, the snuggling before bedtime, the baking of cookies and playing house, the playground, stories, coloring, bikes and skates, school programs, giggles and laughs.  Although I wouldn’t trade it for ANYTHING, I still don’t know what to do sometimes.

Thankfully, I have an earpiece of sorts (my heart) and the Holy Spirit, who is infinitely better than a child therapist with a mini-mic.  If I really listen I can usually hear Him guide me and help me through the tough and/or bewildering situations.   In fact, He is there giving me tips and helping me make decisions in all of my life, not just my life as a parent.  Sometimes I know what to do but I need his encouragement to choose to do what’s right when I’m weary or feel like giving up and saying, “whatever.”  The beauty of being in relationship with God is simply that – we get to live in relationship with Him!  That means He is with us, He talks to us, He listens, He loves, He accepts our love, He disciplines, He guides, He plans, He watches over us.  It’s amazingly awesome.  I thank Him every day for allowing me to live in relationship with Him.

Mike seems nice, but I guess I don’t need him after all.

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
I will advise you and watch over you.”  Psalm 32:8