Peace family, when it comes to parenting, do you ever feel uninformed, embarrassed, or frustrated?
So many times, we can feel unskilled in an area, but we are afraid to reach out for help or learn more about ways to do things, especially if we feel like we should already know what we are doing. Parenting is so important, and has been such an integral part of humanity for all of its history, so we can feel extra stupid when we don’t know what to do. I want to encourage you not to feel condemned for your shortcomings, and emphasize that it’s ok to seek out information and help!
This weekend, I went to the Houston Zoo, and was really amazed by something I learned about the great apes there and their parenting skills. Did you know that, because animals end up at the zoo as a result of being rescued from poachers or others who’ve separated them from their families, they actually miss out on learning a lot of skills that we’d usually chalk up as “instinct,” from their natural communities? In fact, a worker in the primate section told my friend and I that they give tablets to pregnant apes to show them human birthing and nursing videos. The great apes actually learn from these videos, have less anxiety, and take better care of their babies! They aren’t simply born with the instincts for thriving in regards to baby care; they need good examples to show them how to properly care for their little ones.
It really made an impression on me that even with their wild natures and instincts, zoo animals still need education to help them raise their babies well. If even gorillas need a little help, surely we shouldn’t feel ashamed when we need help, too! It’s hard to know what to do when we haven’t had a good example or pattern to learn from (and often, it’s still hard, even if we had a good example.) If you know others who’ve honestly done a great job with their kids, don’t be afraid to reach out and let them encourage you. If you’re a new parent, don’t feel like you should already know everything and have to figure out everything on your own. Whether you were raised in a great home or a dysfunctional one, don’t be afraid or ashamed to get counseling, read a variety of books, and be exposed to positive examples; get whatever you need to be the best parent that you can be. Meanwhile, remember that God is with you, and he knows the answers to all of your questions.
Peace family, if you are discouraged in your parenting today, hang in there. You can do it! There’s nothing wrong with learning, and God won’t abandon you. My prayer for you today is that God would provide special rest for your body and for your heart, that you would have breakthroughs in the areas where your family is struggling, and that you would remember today how much God loves you and cares for you!