As much as I like my car, I must agree with my wife — it does have a few blind spots.
Backing up can be tricky. The narrow side windows and raised rear of the vehicle make it a challenge to see what’s behind me. Or beside me. I nearly sideswiped a fellow traveler last week on a rainy freeway because of it.
I think I can fix it with a couple of those wide-angle mirror attachments. But until I do, I’d do well to double check my blind spots instead of assuming I know what is behind or beside me.
Parenting Blind Spots
We parents have blind spots, too. One advantage I got from working with parents and children each day as a school administrator is that I got to see parents’ blind spots. Unfortunately. All of them naturally come to the defense of their own children. The best of them have to work hard to get and keep the right perspective — that their child is a fallen, sinful human being capable of far more fails than they would like to admit. And usually up to more than the parents knows or guesses.
That fact shouldn’t surprise us really. After all, aren’t we often up to far more than we want our heavenly Parent to know about? Even though He does. We’d like to think He’s not paying attention sometimes. Especially when we fail.
But for us earthly parents, let’s face it. We all have blind spots. Some severe. I’ve seen a few through the years that have caused me to wonder how it was even possible for the other parent not to see their obvious bias. How could they be so unwillingness to see their own failings as a parent?
Jesus warned us about this very thing: “Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye…. Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck in your brother’s eye.” You’d think you would notice a plank in your eye. But we’ve all seen it get missed.
Here are a few simple tips drawn from countless parental interactions:
- Yellow Alerts! Each time we see a problem with other parents’ blind spots, it should trigger a Yellow Alert (I’m admittedly calling on my Star Trek memories here.) I’m not proposing a full-scale defensive posture (that would be Red Alert), simply an automatic review of our own defenses and strategies. Sometimes just a random safety check can alert us to potential problems.
- Regular self-inspection. Take the time to review your parenting honestly before God. Ask Him to give you wisdom — He promised to do so if you ask in faith — just be humble and open before him to see your parenting as He sees it. Ouch. I feel the pain already. Don’t forget to schedule the time into your calendar. Self-examination should be a big rock in your time manegement agenda.
- Third-party audits. Seek out friends or fellow faith-travelers who will be honest with you about your parenting. Ideally, they will be people who are familiar with you and your kids. It may take some convincing to get honest feedback — and they will not always be correct. But most people will not give the feedback unless you go out of your way to assure them you actually want it and will receive it respectfully. How many times have you given valid input only to have it rejected? Be sure they know it is safe to speak the truth in love to you.
Oh, and be careful on the highway today. If you see a car abruptly changing lanes, look out. I might be driving in your neighborhood.
What tips have you found to help you as a parent avoid parenting blind spots? Leave a comment below to help us all grow.