photo by Joe Lanman
Time, in the form of patience, is a virtue for all parents and their children. However, between a step-parent and a stepchild, it is a very precious commodity. It needs to be understood that, when other dynamics come into play with your relationship (feuding households, differing values and constant transitioning between homes), patience may be all you have to win that stepchild over to a godly way of life.
I struggled with that concept. I’m generally a pretty patient person, but I saw myself in a no-win situation. My two stepsons would leave for their mom’s home on the weekend where there were no rules, no homework, and a constant barrage of Chuckie Cheese and new video games.
During the week, I made them do their homework, took them to the doctor for their immunization shots, made sure they ate healthy foods and limited their time in front of a video game. I could see where the “evil stepmother” stereotype came from. I was in the position of making them follow the rules and do the unpopular things. Why couldn’t I be the one who took them to the circus and handed out game tokens?
You know, I sometimes don’t give my husband, Bill, enough credit for understanding. One day when I was having a tough time handling the frustration of it all, I kind of let loose on him. You can use your imagination.
When I’d had my say he was quiet for a moment. Then he took my hand and said very gently, “You know, you’re the only thing they have grounding them at the moment. Don’t stop what you’re doing. They’ll see in time what it is you do and that your focus on being a godly mom is the difference.”
It was enough to stop my whining and give me a new perspective on my role and relationship with my sons. It wasn’t without its relapses over the years, but I kept at what I was doing, which basically was modeling what a godly mom should be.
Hindsight being 20/20, it is so much easier to look back and see what my sons needed to see in me that allowed us to have a strong, positive relationship, one based upon biblical precept and that allowed us an open channel for discussing the gospel. There needed to be time to:
- Build trust in our relationship; that there would be consistency, predictability and genuine love and caring;
- Observe God in my and their dad’s marriage; that our relationship was based on godly truths and not human construct;
- Know that I read my Bible and prayed, because they would catch me at it; that what I taught them to do was important to me also;
- Examine how I resolved conflict; that it didn’t involve storming out, protracted name-calling or physical destruction of property;
- Watch how I chose to interact with them; that I never gave up, even when they were at their worst behavior;
- Consider how I approached life in general; that with trials and challenges, I sought God; that with victories, I praised God; and that in all things, I followed God.
Was it enough to win them over, to mold them into the men of God my husband and I desired them to be? You’ll have to tune in Thursday for that tidbit.
Let others know about this series. Please email a link, post about it on your blog site, or let your friends know through Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. There are a lot of blended families out there who need this information and encouragement.