Learn About Perfections VS. Consistency In Parenting


When a woman has given birth to her first baby, she starts off determined to be the best mother she can be, often keeping in the back of her mind a picture of the mother who meets all her child’s needs, teaches wisely, and trains that little one in the way he or she should go, to paraphrase Proverbs 22:6.

But Mom soon discovers that her beautiful baby is not a lump of clay she can mold any way she likes.  No, that little one has a mind of his own and wants his own way. She simply cannot do everything she thought she would be able to do.

Julie Ann Barnhill points out that when it comes to parenting, what a mom should have as her goal is not perfection but consistency.  In her book Motherhood, Julie explains the difference.  “My dictionary defines consistency as ‘showing steady conformity to character.'”[1]

Julie continues,

Consistency in my life as a mother, be it in the arena of discipline, education, setting house rules and guidelines, or resolving conflict, isn’t the all-or-nothing kind of thing I thought it was. It doesn’t mean absolute, unwavering perfection. It’s more a matter of forward motion in the right direction over the long haul. That’s the kind of consistency we mothers can realistically aim for.[2]

Training your child in the way he or she should go is like teaching him to bowl. Until he learns how to play on his own, you put up bumpers along the edges of the lane to help guide the bowling ball toward the pins.

Toss out perfection and aim for consistency. You’ll make better progress training your children.

[1] Julie Ann Barnhill, MOTHERHOOD: the Guilt That Keeps on Giving Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2006), 111. 

[2] Ibid., p. 111-112.