Mini Moments of Change

Don’t you wish you could always learn new things quickly? It would be great to pick up new technology and feel comfortable with it right away. It would be amazing to become skilled at a new language in a matter of days. Just think about how much easier math and science would have been when you were in school!

Each of us might have a proclivity to learn some things quicker than others, but for most new things, it takes time, effort, and endurance. Rather than a sprint, it is a journey. Change is always a process, not a one-time event. It is important for us to remember this truth when it comes to parenting.

As we parent our kids, we can become frustrated with their slowness to learn, change, and mature. It is hard for us to understand how they can react negatively to a brother or sister again and again, even though we have spoken to and punished them for this same action time and again. We find ourselves frustrated. Why? Because we want our parenting to lead to change through a series of one-off events rather than it being a lifelong process. But that isn’t how parenting works.

Author Paul David Tripp in his book, Parenting: 14 Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family offers the truth that parenting is “a life-long process of incremental awareness and progressive change.” It takes time to see transformation in our kids because they don’t see and understand their own sin accurately. What is wrong doesn’t look wrong to them. More than being selfish and rebellious, they are blind to their own sin.

In light of this, Tripp offers three mentalities that need to shape our parenting:

1. You Need to Parent with a Process Mentality

We need to shift from viewing parenting as a “series of unrelated corrective encounters” and begin to view each of these things as part of a life-long connected process. It takes time for our kids to understand, learn, and change. God is using us as “agents of transformation in the lives of unfinished people.”

2. You Need to See Parenting as One Unending Conversation

As much as we might hope it exists, there is no magic bullet of a single conversation that will change your child. Each conversation matters and strung together over time you will begin to see the life-change that you desire. You are embarking on a journey of many “mini moments of change.” So, take the pressure off that one conversation. Instead, look each day for new opportunities to advance the longer process of conversations that lead to transformation. 

3. You Need to Parent with a Project Mentality

As you move from conversation to conversation, you are parenting with “a sense of project.” Possessing this viewpoint, you begin to capture more and more God-given opportunities. Acting reactively out of emotion comes from a short-term view. Seeing the “project” will help you to strategically interject in light of a greater whole, leading to a better reaction and overall result.

We know that this is how we ought to parent our children because this is how Jesus guides and directs us. He is patient with us as we take time to understand, learn, and change. He knows that we are blind to our own sin, just like our kids. Paul, in 1 Timothy 1:16 speaks of Christ’s perfect patience being on display in his life and exemplifying the mercy that he has been shown. He declares that because he is the worst of sinners, that Jesus can use him as an example of how patient He is and is able and willing to be as he does his work of grace.

Daily we struggle with sin and although we are justified (event), we are still being sanctified (life-long journey of transformation). This is a process of “mini moments of change.” It is proof that this is how we are to parent our children, and a daily reminder as we do, that Jesus has shown us great patience as we learn to live a life in His kingdom that brings glory to Him.