Recently, I was at a wrestling tournament to watch my 14-year-old son. Wrestling tournaments usually start early in the morning and take up most of the day. On this day, I had left my other three children at home, and I was sitting in the gymnasium thinking of my to do list that was a mile long. I love wrestling, and I love being with my son, but this day, the commitment to a long day in the gym seemed a little too much.
After a lot of waiting, my son finally wrestled his first match and got pinned in only 15 seconds. I thought he hadn’t given his all and was a little annoyed he lost because if he lost the next match he was out of the tournament, we would be heading home and all of the time and effort I had put into getting him there would be a waste.
After his match, he came and found me in the stands as he always does. I told him he didn’t do his best and to get out there and try harder. It wasn’t my finest mom moment. He went to rejoin his team, and I felt ashamed I hadn’t been more positive. I had let my frustration get the best of me and I felt bad.
Scripture Changed My Perspective
The gym was full of people. There were five wrestling matches going on at once, parents were cheering, wrestlers were warming up and music was blaring. Since I knew I had a long wait until my son’s next match, I reached into my bag and pulled out my Kindle. I had planned to read a novel I was in the middle of, but instead I clicked on the button to read in the Book of Mormon. I started reading in the place I had left off at the day before. Despite the chaos around me, I got completely engrossed in the verses.
I read about a great leader named Captain Moroni. He was a leader everyone wanted to follow. He had integrity and even though he was fighting a war, his motives were pure. This is how the the verses I read described Captain Moroni:
And Moroni was a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect understanding; yea, a man that did not delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery;
Yea, a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his people; a man who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his people.
Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had sworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood.
Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.
A Softened Heart
I finished the chapter, looked up from my Kindle and instantly saw my son in the far corner of the gym warming up for his next match. What I read about Captain Moroni changed my perspective on what I was doing that day. My heart was softened. I was being taught what was truly important for me to show my son.
I knew it didn’t matter if he won or lost his next wrestling match. I didn’t need to pray for that. I needed to pray he would be like Captain Moroni–someone the Lord could depend on no matter what. Suddenly, I wanted my son to be “strong and mighty” not so he could beat his wrestling opponent, but so he could be who God wanted him to be.
My son lost his second match, which meant he was eliminated from the tournament. When he came to me in the stands this time, my heart was full of love for him. I told him I knew he had done his best and I was proud of him.
We headed home, and the day was not a waste because I learned an important lesson about parenting in God’s way and not the world’s way. I had learned what God wanted me to teach my son. His value is not based on his worldly accomplishments. He isn’t defined by winning a wrestling match. He has value simply because he is a child of God.
How have you learned to parent in God’s ways? Share your thoughts in the comments.