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Making Room for Grace

Making room for grace, the concept I’m teaching applies to anything you are going after, whether it’s a goal, a dream, or something you want to turn around and make improvements on in your life, something you might be worried about. Making room for grace is a beautiful way to approach the possibility of change for the future. 

So, on to what I want to talk about today, which is about making room for grace. When I make room for grace in my parenting, it’s easier to help my kids own their own results versus trying to control my kids because I’m worried about their choices. And this is something I have been thinking about for a LONG time, especially because I think I’ve told you before, I have some head-strong kids. So I had to learn early on how to enjoy parenting more. It all felt so out of my control. I didn’t like how that felt when my kids were little. I felt at the mercy of their choices. If they made good choices, then life was peaceful and wonderful. If they made bad choices like a tantrum, or not wanting to do what needed to happen, then life felt hard and I just felt at the mercy of their whims. 

The problem many of us fall into as parents is we think we own our kids’ results. We think we are responsible for the choices our kids make. We think if they make a bad choice, it must be our fault, we must have done something wrong.  

Maybe we didn’t teach like we could have or should have. Maybe we missed it. I actually think it’s okay if we did, and we have the awareness in the present to own that with a little humility. That is different than dwelling in regret about it, I don’t recommend that.

Here’s what we are responsible for: teaching, and teaching, and teaching some more. And then holding our kids accountable with natural consequences.

So if you are someone who feels a lot of guilt for the choices your child is making, I want to offer a Solution: Give your child’s agency back to them, don’t try to control their agency. Don’t take ownership of their agency.  Know your true role in helping kids connect the dots between choices and consequences.  Become really good at knowing a natural consequence, being able to teach and speak to them, versus a random consequence or no consequence at all. And then, make room for grace.

When our kids are in the middle of messy behaviors, Our brains really like to make stuff up. Our brains make up the future.  When I see my kid playing a lot of video games, my brain will make up a future where all it sees is a kid playing video games for the rest of his life, maybe living in my basement, maybe eating pretzels and pizza, not having a work ethic, never learning other pursuits. And all of that is, my brain just made up a future scenario. So instead of just going with the first option that our brain likes to give us that he’s going to live in our basement, if we think that and believe that, we’re going to be anxious. But another option, why not make room for grace? 

We could also decide, you know, what’s equally possible is that maybe he does amazing in school too, that yes, I am maybe a little bit nervous about how much he plays, but I don’t NEED to be as nervous as I think I need to be. And that some of my nervousness is what propels me to teach and speak and maybe access some of my best parenting skills and teaching, and maybe the most connection I’ve ever had with him will happen BECAUSE of video games. 

When we make room for grace, we are able to imagine other possible outcomes, like - What if my son is actually captain of the video game squad and learns some leadership qualities because of this? (which actually did happen…) What if my son comes to me and asks me, “mom, help me manage my time, tell me more. . .” (which also did actually happen.) 

I had to create a more trusting energy in the way I showed up with him when we talked about self-regulation and balancing his priorities. 

He knew that if grades slipped, if he didn’t stay up on his job or his swim workouts, then video games would be the first thing to be cut. We had a running understanding of that. And what I saw, his grades stayed great, he met all his responsibilities, but when he wasn’t self-regulating well, he was super tired. He wasn’t getting enough sleep. 

I had a strong urge to nag him to go to bed on time, to check on him and be a helicopter parent. But I decided not to. I decided to let the tiredness be the natural consequence and a teacher. 

Pretty soon, the tiredness got old. He was learning the hard way that it isn’t worth it to be tired.

So he came to me with a solution of how he was going to manage it himself. It was hard because it meant having to tell a group of friends he couldn’t be available anymore. It was hard for him to give up. 

We make room for another possibility. We think up the possibilities that things could actually turn out the way we want, and we let our brains get busy imagining those outcomes. 

And the best part yet. So here’s why it is so important to do this on purpose with your thinking, it’s not as fun to just let your brain run on auto pilot. That’s the first reason, that’s one of the problems with letting your brain run on default is it’s just not as fun. Because our brain wants to be very practical and point out all the problems. But here’s another problem with it is your brain is always going to look for proof of what we think and believe. So I’m gonna say that, again, your brain is always going to look for proof of what you think, or believe. So with the example of my son and video games, if I just believe he’s probably going to live in our basement and play videos games and eat pizza and pretzels the rest of his life, , then your brain will go to work, proving that true and looking for all the evidence that that’s true. 


                         4 tips to help you to make room for grace. 

Number one, be willing to be surprised. This is a tough one, again, because our brain wants to predict things, more than it wants anything else. Our brains want to predict what they think they know. But when your brain offers you a thought, like my son’s going to play video games his whole life and live in my basement. And just be like, actually, brain, maybe we’re wrong. Maybe he’s going to surprise you, and it will be so fun to see how he turns out. Wouldn’t that be interesting? Be willing to be wrong about the autopilot, anxious thinking, and be willing to be surprised instead. That’s tip number one. 


Number two, go to the land of possibility, I give you permission right now to go to the magical land of possibility where anything good and wonderful is also possible. All the realistic thinking is fine and okay, but also go to the land of possibility, and tell your brain, this is what I really want. Go there. So - say you want to have a talk with your son about it,  if you are going to have a talk with him, and your brains, like, he’s not going to listen to me, we don’t have anything in common with video game stuff, he thinks I don’t understand, I’m going to be so awkward, redirect your brain to go to the land of possibility, be like, OR we could have a great connecting conversation and end up laughing and bonding, and you can just be silly about it even, right. But it’s just kind of fun to open up and make room for grace, what would some grace look like in the land of possibility here? That’s tip number two - go to the land of possibility. 


Number three, untie your worth to the outcome. I actually think I could do a whole episode on this one. But let me try to be concise here. Now, the reason that our brain wants to warn us about the way stuffs gonna go in the future, is because it wants to warn us of failure before failure actually happens. When our kids have poor outcomes, we feel like failures as parents. Okay, so if you’re going to play with this ‘make room for grace’ concept,  you also have to be willing to untie your worth to the outcome. So let’s say we decide to have a goal in our parenting to make sure our kids use their time wisely. And we just our brains are like, they make false conclusions. The thinking goes something like this: ‘Because my son is not regulating himself well at video games, I must be a terrible parent.’ See how we’ve just made a value judgment on our worth as a parent? This is an example of what I call a Thought Error.  But then, you then decide to play with this idea of making room for grace. And you’re like, or - what if it isn’t about my parenting at all, it’s more about his development unfolding, and self-regulation is hard at this age for anyone, even adults, and it has nothing to do with my worth as a parent. You have to untie your worth to the outcome. You have to be willing to be like, Okay, well, I guess this video game thing is messy right now. It just means I need to keep teaching and then teaching some more. And sometimes with teens, natural consequences are the best teacher, and so you make sure you don’t interfere with those. Don’t make it mean anything about your worth. It’s sort of like, instead of deciding, I have to make this happen in order to feel like I’m a good parent, you make room for the universe to provide some grace into all of it. And the spirit and the magic and our heavenly parents to work their magic in your life and in your child’s life instead, and you untie your goodness and your outcome to your worth. 

This is how God does it. He makes room for grace. Grace is why he can send us down to this survival of the fittest world and let us practice using our agency so we can learn from our own experience. Maybe your kid is the kid that needs to touch the hot stove. Your role in that is to teach, and teach some more, and speak to natural consequences. You say “The hard way is to touch the hot stove and have a burn that takes days to heal. The easy way is to trust me when I tell you that touching that hot stove will cause you pain down the road. Whatever you choose, I’ve taught you, you own your own result.”  

Number four, understand the thought result relationship. Okay, and so this goes back to the model that I teach that the way you think is going to reflect in your result line. Our thoughts are powerful creators of our outcomes, there’s a strong relationship there. So if you are confused about what the model is, I teach about it in a lot of my previous episodes, how to make sense of any challenge and think through them in ways that serve you. But it’s actually a psychological thing that happens in the human brain called confirmation bias and whatever we believe, we’re going to end up proving true in our result. So that is another tip for you to understand that whatever you’re thinking your brain will start finding evidence for and it will go to work proving true. So why not make room for grace and believe the best possible outcome is available to you. 

Our brains will want to shut down and think it knows the answers and instead just be like, this is going to turn out terrible. 

You’ll show up differently in how you approach your parenting. 

We want our kids to own their own results. When you make room for grace, You have more inner peace. You don’t beat yourself up for being a bad parent. You leave the world of parenting stress behind and embrace the world of more grounded self-confidence, clarity, and connection with your kids. You don’t resent them anymore. You aren’t afraid for them anymore. You know your part in it, and you give back to your child their part in their outcomes. 

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