I was a diligent student in school, but I cannot deny that my natural test-taking skills boosted my GPA. A semblance of butterflies occasionally resided in my stomach as the crisp, white papers were passed out, but typically tests represented an opportunity to succeed. Fast forward to one of my most sacred endeavors in life: parenting… and its lack of tests.
You do all you can each and every day… and then you wait 18 years to see how you did! ;-) Of course there is fruit all along the way, but not a clear-cut grading system in which you know how you are doing. The Spirit of God and His Word are invaluable as we struggle. And, of course, it is God who sanctifies us once we have trusted in Christ as Savior; our part is to continue to trust in Him through faith and obedience. We will never reach perfection, and His mercies are always greater than our failures, but He has promised a good result for our diligence (Galatians 6:9).
Personally, one of the most refreshing aspects of the Entrusted with a Child’s Heart study was the Mom’s Quiz. The "Putting Off and Putting On" evaluation scared me at first, and then I realized how great it was to have a biblically-based standard for my parenting in one place. You see, the world is telling us what a great mom is all.the.day.long. However, it is NOT God’s definition any more than the magazine cover that tries to tell us what true beauty looks like. This quiz is about God’s priorities for you.
- There isn’t a section asking if your party-throwing skills are Pinterest-worthy.
- No portion about your extracurricular chauffeuring commitments.
- Nothing about the quantity of organic produce in your refrigerator.
- Nada about the amount of screen time in your home.
- Zip about where you prefer to send your children for schooling.
- Zilch on how many times you took your kids to the museum, pool, or library this month.
Those items are of varying importance to each of us—and that’s fantastic! God gives us each different experiences and sources of wisdom that lead to our choices/personal convictions. I’m certainly not asking you to give up anything God has called you to do! I do, however, want to make sure we keep the biblical standards in the forefront of our minds.
In the Entrusted book, we are given 16 categories from Scripture from which we are encouraged to evaluate ourselves. The bottom line: Are we exasperating our children? We are to rate ourselves on a scale of 0-10, based on the frequency with which the following occur in our homes.
|| Rarely or
|This is not a struggle in our family or we have learned to successfully
build a buffer from the wrong behavior.
||When this occurs, we work it out to a good result.|
||I am aware that this happens more than it should.|
|6-7||Often||I am aware that this is a problem in our family.|
|8-10||Very Often||I am aware that this is one of the key issues for our family to resolve. This
is an area of crisis in our family.
In typical Entrusted fashion, this quiz is all about relationships: your relationship with God and your relationship with your children. It isn’t about getting a pat on the back or a slap on the hand. This quiz is intended to inspire true, repentant change so your walk with God is blessed and your connection with your children is thriving. True repentance.
I would highly encourage you to look back at your study or book if you own a copy. It includes helpful descriptions of each behavior, Truth from God’s Word on the issue, and application points.
Betsy illustrates the process of “Putting Off, and Putting On” with the following diagram.
Now that you know this quiz is the beginning of a process—not an end result—here are the categories:
| Exasperating Behaviors:
| Being too strict or excessively involved
| Comparing them to others
| Neglect or lack of attention
| Overly harsh in discipline or consequences
|Disciplining without explanation||ADMONISHMENT|
| Unpredictability of home life
| Lack of affection
| Lack of boundaries
| Modeling anger
| Discord between parents
|Not admitting when you are wrong||SEEKING FORGIVENESS|
| Double standards or hypocrisy
||LIVING BY CONVICTION|
| Physical or verbal abuse
| Not giving them a chance to explain
| Not doing what you said you would
We are then encouraged to ask God’s wisdom and discuss these scores with our husbands. See if he agrees with your assessment. I remember Travis telling me I was way too hard on myself—a nice relief! I’m sure many of us are harder on ourselves than we need to be, and our husbands can be a less-critical source. Perhaps he will want to take the quiz too! Scores 8 and above probably require intervention so you can restore your relationship with your child.
Psalm 85:8 says, “I will hear what God the Lord will say; For He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones; But let them not turn back to folly.”
Don’t despair! We worship a God of hope and peace! Be thankful that as you seek the Lord, He will help you restore what was damaged and prevent further pain. He is for you, Sweet Mama.