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Mommy, are we good enough?


by Rachel Faulkner Brown


“Mommy, were we good?”

That was the question that caused me to stop in my tracks! Rod’s mom had just left and they were playing a made up version of go fish with two half decks of cards. They were so quiet while we talked I really had to look over the couch to see if they were even still there! 

She closed the door and that tiny innocent question fell so hard on my soul!

Why does an 8-year-old ask that?  

What is the root of that question?

What have I projected for you to even know to ask that? 

I’ve learned two things over the last few days in an effort to understand the whys. 

1) I’ve learned that in an effort to train my children, to have appropriate respect for adults in conversation, I have been extreme and they are performing for me.
2) I’ve learned the child who asked the question, is wired to please me (like many of us). 

So, in knowing these two things I am asking Jesus to help me teach respect without performance and for me to understand my child’s beautiful wiring.  We all want our kids to not interrupt, but I want them to understand why! I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have not explained why and they are at an age where an explanation beyond ‘because I said so’ would and could be received! But I also want to make the connection that we respect adults because we love them.

Because of His great love for us, we love.”

It will be a constant conversation and one that we started over dinner last night! “Davis, do you remember asking me if you were good when Grammy left the other night?” He did remember! “Davis, more than anything else I want you to know that no matter if you had been ‘good’ or if you had made bad choices, Mommy still loves you for who you are..not what you do!”


Courtney says in In this House We Will Giggle:

 I pray that when we feel the urge to change our children, we’ll instead fight to learn them.”

I am fighting to understand and learn the heart behind the question!  It is constant…and guess what …Jesus gently reminds me that I am loved for who I am not what I do everyday. Everyday!!!!

I truly feel like my daily mission is to help my children to see and receive the Father’s great love for them when they can’t see it! Really, isn’t that it? 

As Courtney talks about in her new book, we long for our children to feel valued! And, I want them to value others because they have experienced the knowing of being heard and accepted for who they are. 

It is a journey we are blessed to walk! I sincerely out of need want to know how do you teach manners and respect without performance?


What are your tricks, your phrases? Help me. help myself!!


Do you struggle with wanting good kids like me?

Yet wanting them to know Jesus more than anything?


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  1. Rachel. I was JUST telling the girls about this tonight as we rehearsed (YET AGAIN) what is proper restaurant behavior. I don’t want the stuck in a sea of all of mom’s expectations – but our “W” verse is so important for our family. We “work at it with all our heart as working for the Lord not for men.” And I encouraged them that sometimes they won’t like mom’s rules or the PE teacher or the task they are asked to do – but they have to do it as working for the Lord. Because he’s but authorities in their life – or it’s for their safety – or it’s because we love others and He loves us. As we age – we began to grasp the why. Sometimes, “because mom said so” and “because God asked us to” is all we can say. But I agree that there is a hard hard balance between teaching them to operate in a world that is all about others and learning to respect and be polite because we VALUE God’s people – not because we want to look so good and please our parents. And we’ve got to laugh off a few spills or let them wear whatever to a fancy dinner here and there – to show them we mean it. We value them too – not just their great manners.

  2. Me too, Rachel, me too! Going through such a time with my oldest. The balance between needing him to respect others, but not stomp out his humor, his leadership. We can’t do this ourselves. God help us.

  3. I struggle with this too! Our Sunday School class has been studying Grace Based Parenting. At first, I thought that it was going to be a liberal parenting approach with no rules. We are about 5 weeks into the study, and it has opened my eyes to a way to parent in a Godly way. I really like the balance of structure with Grace.

    Thank you for your honesty and willingness to let us into your parenting style to see that many of us struggle with this balance. I look forward to introducing our class to In This House We Will Giggle in an upcoming study.


  4. Thank you for this! So trying to integrate this balance in our life, too… One thing that seems to help my little daughter is: When she makes a *good* choice, I try not to say, “I’m so glad/happy/pleased because you…” – but instead to say, “Congratulations! I’m so happy *for you!* I saw how you did X – that was an awesome choice!” It seems to reframe the praise in a more powerful way, and lets her own more of it. Before God, *she* did a GOOD THING, and *she* can/should be proud of it. It makes it less about Mommy/Daddy being happy/pleased with her (I hope!)

    And like you, I repeat endlessly, “I love you when you make good choices, and I love you when you make bad choices. I’m sad for you when you make bad choices, and happy with you when you make good ones, but I love you just the same either way.” And I pray she believes it, and I live it…

  5. Rachel, what a great question you are asking. It totally gets at the heart of grace, doesn’t it?! I love how you talked to Davis about it afterward– to me that is really the key. Not that we do everything right every time, but that we talk it through. Pray it through together. I’m sure he is fascinated with the fact that you also struggle with performance. I have found that when we were vulnerable with our children (appropriate for their age, etc) that we were able to get way past the rules and deep into the relationship, which is really what grace is all about. What a great mama you are! Just the one Davis needs!!

  6. another book that talks to this very topic of accepting God’s grace for US – so that we can give it to our kids is Parenting the Wholehearted Child by Jeannie Cunnion. Such great stuff in there!

    i love this discussion. truly what i had hoped for this site. not one of us “knowing it all” – just a group of like-minded moms wondering/struggling together and seeking truth and answers together. you’re all doing GREAT (as one commenter suggested) even asking the question!

  7. Oh man…am I struggling w/ this right now or what!!! I have a strong willed, new to kindergarten 5 year old boy. Every time he gets a color change from green to yellow in class, I think, “does his teacher think we aren’t parenting or disciplining enough?” I somehow just want my kids to make me “look good.” I’ll admit sometimes I feel embarrassed when they don’t. I’ve moved from talking about choices w/ both of mine from saying “good and bad” choices to rephrasing talking about choices as “right and wrong.” Bc we went through a period when he would ask if he was “bad.” I am learning through this all, that the one thing that I come back to, is it only matter what Gods thinks, no one else, the person at the grocery store, his teacher, etc. I am praying to please God and no one else and that is where the heart of my discipline is coming from, not discipline to get results so that he never gets a color change in class again. Praying that I continue to love my babies just right where they are!

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