If you have school-aged kids – or even younger ones in daycare/preschool – you are well aware that they have been home with you for the last 124 days. That’s four months. A third of a year. But who’s counting? I think my most-used phrases in my household and in conversations with my friends have been “I’m just doing my best here” and “please extend some grace (to me/her/them)”.
Lately there has been something I have been hyper aware of and it has been laying heavy on my heart. Grace. No, not her 🙂 The spiritual kind of grace. What has brought that up? Of all things, the upcoming start of a new school year.
As plans will be firming up soon for our kids’ return to school – whatever that might look like – I think it’s really important to show respect for others’ opinions and decisions. At heart, we all know that every family’s situation is different and everyone is using the imperfect information at their disposal to try to make the best decision for their families. But just because we “know” this, doesn’t mean we always act like it is true.
Scrolling through social media the last few weeks has been disheartening. As I read posts from different (mostly) moms judging, berating and disrespecting each other, I think about how much the world needs grace right now. It is so important to remind ourselves of that any time we might think otherwise. I myself am struggling with making the “right” decision for our children. It will involve a lot of research, conversation and prayer. And I honestly don’t think I’ll be fully confident no matter what decision we make. So I need to see grace from my friends and neighbors to respect our decision. And I need to remind myself daily to extend that same grace to others.
So what is grace? How do we live it and how can we model it for our kids?
Grace is given to us by God. It is unconditional. It cannot be earned and is not necessarily deserved. Grace means seeing one another as God’s creation. It means treating others with humility and respect, even if we don’t understand them. Grace is why we get to go to heaven. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift from God.” – Ephesians 2:8. Here is a short video that might be helpful to younger kids.
So God shows us unconditional grace. You know that feeling when you know you’ve messed up and you try to lean into God and his forgiveness? I know I do. And when I finally feel that relief – that’s realizing God’s grace. That’s what I’m asking you to pass on to others. Now you see why all this social media “roasting” has got me down. It’s not very graceful.
The easiest way to teach our kids about grace is to model it every day. This is hard. We are all tired and stressed. But extend yourself grace first and then share it with the world. Your kids will notice. Here is a book of 100 devotionals by Max Lucado – Grace for the Moment – that focuses on growing in grace. It is probably best suited for children 5-12 years old.
So I want to call us – all Munger parents – to a higher standard in one very practical way. When it comes to choosing what’s best for our families and children in the upcoming months, let’s extend ourselves and our neighbors grace. We are all just doing our best.