The violin was my primary instrument for several years. One of my teachers told me the secret to being a great violinist. “Everyone thinks the great violinists never make a mistake. They actually make plenty of mistakes. The difference between a good violinist and a great violinist is this: The great ones are paying attention and assessing each note as it is made. They make the necessary adjustments so quickly no one even notices the original mistake.”
Parenting, especially Christian parenting is as tough as learning to play an incredibly difficult instrument like the violin. It’s easy to get discouraged when you see a “perfect” parent who seems to know how to parent flawlessly. The secret is the “perfect” parent is no more perfect than any other parent.
The secret to being a “perfect” parent is the willingness to assess your parenting choices, skills and results constantly as you go through the day. Then those same parents take that assessment and make any necessary adjustments almost immediately. They don’t parent blindly, not assessing their results until their child ends up in serious trouble. They don’t notice a problem and then wait days, weeks, months or years to make corrections. They are aware, in the moment, constantly assessing and adjusting their parenting.
Sound exhausting? Trust me. Although it sounds hard, the “great violinist” parent actually has a much easier parenting job in the long run. They catch trouble way before it could happen and usually are successful in preventing it from ever happening. It’s much easier to teach a young child how to express and control his/her anger in godly ways than it is to help a teen suspended from school for fighting and looking at possible criminal charges.
Feel unequipped to assess and correct your parenting at all, much less as you go? As far as I know, every great violinist has had to take lessons and practice. Some with natural talent, found it easier to be great. Others had to take extra lessons or practice more hours to get to the point where they were professional. Parents need help, too. Take Christian parenting classes, read parenting books, sign up to have our blog posts delivered to your inbox, like the Parenting Like Hannah Facebook page and get daily parenting challenges, have us come to your location and conduct parenting workshops or a mom retreat, find a Christian parenting mentor. The help you want and need is there, you just have to ask for it.
Start today by being more mindful of your children and especially your interactions with them. What behaviors or heart issues do you see that concern you? What parenting techniques are you using to correct problems? How effective are they? What is your relationship with your child like on most days? What can you do to make the relationship more nurturing? How much are you communicating to your kids about what God wants for them and from them on a daily basis? Are you teaching your kids how to worship, obey and serve God? Now, take those answers and think about the adjustments you need to make and make them. The process will seem slow and difficult at first, but with a lot of practice, you will be able to adjust like the great violinists!