Grace has been defined as unmerited favor, or getting something that you don’t deserve.
One way that we can show grace to others is by simply giving them room to grow. This holds true for anybody, but especially for kids, since growing is their primary function.
It can be difficult for us as adults and parents to remember that kids are a work in progress. They aren’t where we are yet. They lack the life experience to have accumulated the wisdom that we have, and their pre-frontal cortices have not yet fully developed, which renders them inadequate to know what to do with the wisdom that they have acquired.
For this reason, I have often surmised that youth is wasted on the young. Why do they have all the energy with none of the wisdom? It seems that by the time we figure out what we’re supposed to be doing with our lives, we’re too tired to do it!
Of course, we never really stop growing. Our bodies do, but our minds shouldn’t. There is always something new to learn, as long as we don’t shut ourselves off from new learning.
As a parent, I can testify that a lot of the learning I have done in recent years involves learning to BE a parent, which in a lot of ways, includes re-learning how to be a kid.
We forget, don’t we? We forget what it’s like to learn one thing and then think we know everything. We forget the days when we used to put paramount importance on what other people thought of us. We forget that we didn’t realize that the world actually didn’t revolve around us until somebody told us so, and even then, we had to be told more than once. For that matter, we forget that we had to be told pretty much everything more than once.
Most of all, we forget all too easily how much we depended upon the approval of our parents.
So teach your children gently. Just because they may act as if they know it all, you can’t assume that they know anything you haven’t told them. Or that you’ve told them only one time. Or that you’ve told them multiple times if there was anything in the room with a video screen on it.
And please practice giving your kids room to grow. They’re not going to get things right every time. However, if you don’t encourage them by letting them know that your love isn’t conditional upon their performance, then they’ll just stop trying. Mistakes are learning opportunities for them and teaching opportunities for you.
And when you teach, you also learn.