It’s been one of those days. A twenty-four hour period that was an emotional rollercoaster. The kind that leave you feeling nauseated, breathless and wind-whipped. If you have children, you’ve experienced them. If we’re being honest, and I hope we are, I’m pretty sure that I’m not alone.

This particular day was one of parenting extremes. Very bad to pretty good. It’s the end of summer vacation and school can’t start soon enough! My two boys are getting older and it has left this mama feeling a little lost and way out of her depth! I was dreading the summer because spring had been hard. Adjusting to tween and teen emotional and physical changes is as hard on the parents as it is the kids! But we had made it through the summer positively… until yesterday.

I had a major meltdown. A full blown temper tantrum. Granted, my buttons had been pushed, but I acted like the child not the adult. It was not one of my finer moments.

After a nap and time to cool down, I apologized. I admitted that I’d blown it and acted like a mom should never act.

Fast forward to this morning. My thirteen year old son was driving to the market with me. He was telling me about the antics of one of his friends. I didn’t think it was funny. I knew I had to be careful with my son’s feelings however. I didn’t want to put down his friend who I like, but I also didn’t want to condone the behaviour. I asked my son what he thought. It was a good parenting moment.

As adults and parents we have so many things thrown at us in a day. Some we deal with very well. Others, not so much. It says in Proverbs 22:6

Teach a child how to follow the right way; even when he is old, he will stay on course. (The Voice)

None of us will ever be perfect parents. I know this so well. My mountain of mistakes as a mother, at times, threatens to overwhelm.

My hope is that we can use every little thing, our mistakes and our wins, as opportunities to teach our children character. To point them towards the right path.

Having to go apologize, teaches our kids that parents make mistakes too. In acknowledging our own imperfections, we extend our children the grace that they don’t have to be perfect either. We can make a mistake and get up and start again.

It teaches them forgiveness. We all need it, and we are better off if we learn to give it as well.

Our mistakes and apologies teaches our kids humility. Such an important lesson if they are going to follow the right path. It takes humility to be a follower of Jesus.

Our wins as parents teaches them that kindness and love are the better choice. It opens doors to communication between us. It lets them know that they can tell us anything. It lets us correct with love, in a kind way. Love wins every time.

Whether it’s a parenting win or a major mistake, it’s all useful.

Every last painful parenting moment. Every thrill of getting it right. All the moments in a day, a season, and during our life can be used to train and teach our kids to follow the right way. To follow Him.