Breaking the Rules – Part 3

Posted by on May 8, 2020 in Parenting | 2 Comments
Breaking the Rules – Part 3

As we approach Mother’s Day, I hope no matter where you are on your parenting journey that you’ll allow yourself to celebrate. Remember: Every beautiful porch picture doesn’t mean every mother is on cloud nine. We’re all in this together. We all love our children dearly, we all want to kill them occasionally, and we’re all our own harshest critics! We’re doing this thing called “motherhood” and that alone is a reason to celebrate. Let’s find joy in our parenting progress; let’s not expect perfection.

One of my reflections over the last several years that I think isn’t spoken of nearly enough is that as we look at our children, we need to remember that strengths are not always strengths. Multiple times, I’ve referenced how in the hard seasons of parenting, I needed to remember the great qualities in my son. He needed to know them and, to be honest, I needed to focus on them instead of the things I was worried about.

Let’s find joy in our parenting progress; let's not expect perfection. Click To Tweet

At age 8, we had Mark answer all the questions to the StrengthsFinder test. Sure, there might have been a word or two that we had to define, but he went through that test and gave answers with child-like honesty. The top 5 strengths that it spit out then are the same ones that he has today…

WOO (Win Others Over)

As you undoubtedly know, there are some strengths that work really well in school. There are other strengths that don’t work so well… like the list above. What happens when you put a bright energetic child into a classroom – a child who’s wired to win others over, who leads whoever will follow, and who likes to compete and talk? The answer is not always pretty!

But here’s the Mother’s Day gift that someone needs to hear: Don’t beat yourself up as a mom if your child’s strengths are more suited for the boardroom or Broadway than the classroom. That day is coming. Also, don’t beat yourself up if your child is using their strengths in an immature fashion. That’s why we’re here. Parents. To help our children mature and grow into the strengths they’ve received.

Moms, stop beating yourself up. Period. Click To Tweet

Our culture wants you to believe that the good kids are the only ones who are compliant and good students. As moms, we can feel like we’ve failed because our child doesn’t fit that mold. Have no fear. The process of parenting a child who doesn’t fit the mold may have us on our knees more… but with love and encouragement, they’ll eventually see their strengths actually become strengths that are not only recognized, but also rewarded.

Some strengths are quiet and some strengths are loud. Either way, remember that you aren’t the giver of strengths, but you do have the privilege of nurturing them into your child. And then trust that the God of the universe will allow them to flourish in due time.



  1. Jenna
    May 8, 2020

    Thanks so much for sitting down with me so long ago at a Bartlett Starbucks to talk about the seeds of this very post. I’m not sure either of us had fully realized how our ideas of motherhood and parenting would be molded by those very children who “don’t fit the mold!” I am grateful for your willingness to be vulnerable then and now. I am grateful for the resources you shared with me then. But more than that, I am grateful that you were willing to share so I knew I wasn’t alone. You had every reason in the world to keep your struggles to yourself and I am so glad you were willing to risk that for another mom in the trenches. Thank you for challenging the ideas that keep us bound in shame. And for modeling what pursuing a relationship with your child (especially when it’s hard) looks like. I know you’d probably say you haven’t always handled things like you wished. But let me say that I’m kinda glad you didn’t figure it all out perfectly, as if that were the goal. It gives me permission to learn from my missteps, let go of the shame, and move forward.

    • karinconlee
      May 8, 2020

      One day at a time… we are doing this thing! Love to you and your family!


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