Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Assuming the Best in our Children

Sometimes it can't be avoided. There will be those people who know us only for our faults. To them, we are: that woman whose kids never have their hair brushed, or that man whose car is always filthy. I don't know about you, but I am thankful for people in my life who choose to overlook my faults and see who I really am. It is so encouraging to have people who see my heart, yes they know my struggles, but they see me for who I really am - a unique woman made in the image of the creator who is trying to live a worthy life despite the crumbs that are perpetually on my floor.

I think that most people feel as I do. Yet, how often do we forget to do this for our children? How often do we look at them in the midst of their messy anger and think, "What is WRONG with this child?!" If only we could learn to see them as we long to be seen - as a whole person struggling to live well.

When we see our children as a whole person, we learn to assume the best in them. Outbursts of angry "I hate yous" become signals to discover their needs. When I assume the best in my child, I look at her in these moments knowing that she is not showing her true self. She is not a mean, angry person - how unkind to give her those labels. Instead, I think of what I can do to help her. Does she need some alone time? Is she tired? Hungry? Is she feeling loved?

A little one on one time with Mom or Dad can make a world of difference in a child's heart. When we pour love in, they have love to give. When we serve and care for them, we set the example for them to follow. When we refuse to judge them and instead, overlook their faults, we teach them about grace. How blessed is the child who knows that she is seen for who she really is - a unique person with a heart that wants to live well.

As always, I write these words as a reminder to myself. That I may seek to know and to love these beautiful people I have been intrusted with.


  1. Hi Kendra,

    Just what I needed today after thinking about my 7 yr old. She is a delight - loving, thoughtful, intelligent, etc. but has these upset, angry moments. I always figure that it's the struggle between wanting to the little one and wanting to be big.
    Interesting that you should say "a unique person with a heart that wants to live well." On Sunday, she had to stand up in the front of the church, with us (her parents) and other children with their parents for a blessing for those about to go through First Communion. She was asked by Father a pretty broad question, "What do you want?" Without hesitation, she said, "To live a good life." When we left, she said she meant to say that she wants to live a Godly life. Ahh, how we all stuggle with that, no matter if we are 7 years or 29+ - but I am so happy for her that she recognizes it.
    Love to All of you in Boerne (and if you have any more tips on helping them not get angry, please send them my way!)
    Kristin in FBG

  2. Kristin, thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. Your little one is such a dear - how I miss those sweet little Ambleside faces! But, I am thankful for more time with the sweet faces of my children :)

    I have one child in particular who regularly struggles with anger, and I have yet to discover a one-size-fits-all solution. Sometimes I do something that helps, and sometimes I just feel helpless. Often I find that if I send her to her room and take a breather, pray for help, that the Holy Spirit is faithful to show me what she needs at that moment.

    Love to you, too!

  3. Kendra, thank you for your words! Beautifully written and well thought out. I am encouraged.
    Love and thanks, Janelle