“Mom, I messed up.” No mother wants to hear those words. But if you have never heard, “Mom, I messed up,” you are probably not very connected to your child. Everyone messes up! The question is whether or not your child feels safe in coming to you…or maybe not.
If they don’t, why not?
I shudder at the recent time I had to go to my husband and admit, “Honey, I messed up.” And no, I didn’t have a fling or buy something super expensive but I did something that I needed to tell him about and ask for forgiveness.
His response? His response was beyond forgiving. I remember his gracious words feeling like a soothing ointment, “It’s okay, we’ll get through this together.” I was totally off the hook. I had been feeling completely alone and isolated. I was feeling tremendous disappointment in myself. When he lavished me with understanding, I felt renewed. When he offered grace, I felt peace. I felt—simply put—loved.
The day I smashed my car as I backed into something and his words were, “It’s okay. We will get it fixed.”
He assured me that no matter what happened we would get through it together. Why would I ever go to anyone else? There is unequivocally no reason to go elsewhere.
When we mess up what do we need to hear? We need to hear that we are not alone, that we are still loved and accepted, and that we are forgiven.
When we take our mistakes to God He wraps His arms around us and says, “It’s okay. We will get through this together.” When our children learn they can come to us with their messes, we teach them they can go to God with anything. When we love them through their messes we are taking them straight to the heart of God.
Take a moment to think back to when you were a kid. Could you go to your parents when you messed up? Or were you afraid of what they might do or say? Now apply that to your parenting today. Can your children come to you?
When our children mess up, they need to know they can come to us because we will not overreact. They need to know that we will walk through whatever the mistake is with them, that we will stand by their side. They need to know our love for them has not changed at all. They need to know we forgive them and accept them no matter what they may have done, and no matter what they might do in the future. They need to know that we are still proud of them.
If you have never heard, “Mom, I messed up,” you may need to stop and ask yourself, why?