Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

So my Sabbath turned into 3 days…  and I’m making no promises to catch up. :S

But here we go!
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I’ll admit it.  At first I was a little wary when you addressed my daughter.  I was ready to jump in with my big Mama-bear suit on and tell you to step off.  (as politely as possible of course)  But it didn’t take me too long to realize that you were offering me an ally.

As you asked my daughter, “Why are you YELLING?” in an exaggerated aghast tone, the words, “it takes a village” raced through my mind.  I paused to watch how my daughter would respond to you.  She ceased her assertion that she “needed” the bundle of lollipops that she had found by the til and came to my leg very calmly, while looking at you. Relieved that her encounter with you was ‘over’, and I wouldn’t have to intervene, I thanked her for coming to me. Which was all the invitation she needed to take up her chant about lollipops again, this time with hitting.

Internally, I rolled my eyes and thought, “hooboy… now’s where the grocery store expects me to ‘put my kid in line’ and maybe smack her back, and where everyone is going to judge me for my gentle response.

Nevertheless, I knelt down and caught her hands and reminded her that God gave us our hands to bless and not to hurt, and that I was sorry, but lollipops were not an option.
Then I proceeded to pay for the treat we HAD stopped at the grocery store to buy, and as I did,  and my daughter’s complaining continued, you engaged again.  As I heard your voice, I thought surely you were judging my inefficient parenting and were about to ‘right my wrong’, but in fact, you were tag-teaming with what I’d done, asking my daughter if she was going to put away her childsized buggy we’d been using.

As I finished up the transaction, I remarked with a sigh, (more to myself than anyone) and this is why I hate grocery stores!”

the cashier responded with empathy, and then you said this beautiful piece of encouragement, about what a good job you felt I was doing, and how hard it is to say ‘no’ to our little ones, and how strong I must be.

So thank you…
Thank you for not judging… or anyways, not condemning my parenting style
You can’t possibly know how badly I needed that encouragement.   On a day where I felt like a failure not only as a parent, but as a human being, to have ANY kind of encouragement, but specific, glowing and lenghty encouragement, from a source where I was expecting the opposite was a monstrous blessing!

I know how hard it can be to step into someone else parent-child interaction in the first place… after all, Mama-bears often WILL feel like your first engagement was a statement about their failure as parents and make it clear, sometimes with disdain, sometimes more tactfully, that “they’ve got this”.

so it takes guts to engage in the first place.
Seems to me most people only find those guts when their righteous indignation that they can parent better than the actual parent takes over.

Yours came from the place of seeing a worn out Mama who needed backup.  

And I never really thanked you.  I never responded one way or the other to your comments to my daughter… so you probably really DIDN’T know how I was feeling about it all.

So to continue on with the courage to bless me with your encouragement…
Thank you.

May you also be blessed with encouragement from an unlikely source when you most need it, and may you know, somewhere in your spirit, that this is a tender touch from a God who loves you and wants you to know that He cares!

Parent

Posted: February 14, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

I’ve already given up my life… So for lent this year, one of the things I’ve chosen to do is to re-engage with this blog.  I’m hoping that this will translate into a better long term habit!

I have an amazing daughter, who is straddling the line between toddler and preschooler.  She has the intelligence of a preschooler, and waffles between toddler and preschooler when it comes to her emotional comprehension.  When it comes to compassion and empathy, she’s a preschooler.  When it comes to not getting her own way, there’s still a lot of toddler there…  the understanding and reasoning that preschoolers grasp are just a little bit beyond her as her world caves in and she grows increasingly convinced that Mama doesn’t love her.

She teaches me about my relationship with God every day.

When I regress to “toddler” state… it’s nearly always because I don’t get my way.
I don’t think I need to add much to that.  That’s a pretty hefty conviction on its own.

I want to parent her the way God parents me.  Sometimes He has a course set out for me, and He’s excited for me to step into this thing that He knows I will love and to see my delight in it, but I’ve got my mind made up that I HAVE to go “this way”.

When this happens with my daughter, I have a lot of choices.  I may have this great plan for her that involves her favorite things, but she’s intent on doing THIS thing.  Now, provided that “this thing” isn’t dangerous to her, I have the choice to allow her to engage in “this thing”, or to argue with her about why the other thing is better, or pick her up and force her into the “fun” thing, knowing that once she’s there, she’ll be happy with it.

I’ve done all of the above.  I took her to playland before her 3rd birthday this year, and she was so excited to try a ride!  But when she found out Mama wasn’t allowed on the ride she had chosen, she didn’t want to try the ride after all.  After going on the 2 rides we could do together waaaay too many times, I decided she was going to try a ride all by herself.  She was clearly adventurous with the other rides, and I knew she could handle it.  So I explained to her that I was going to put her on the ride, and (with the blessing of the ride operator) assured her that if she still wanted to come off after the ride had started, we would stop it immediately and take her off.

I must have looked like the most twisted cruel parent in the world as I forcibly strapped my daughter into the motorcycle seat that she had soooo wanted to ride at the beginning of the day.  The ride operator looked at me as if she was unsure whether she should call child protective services or flip the ride switch.  My daughter screamed like the world was ending for the 12 seconds it took for me to clear the area so the operator could start the ride.  She flipped the switch, and mid-scream, without stopping to breathe, my child’s wail turned into giggling.  She loved it!  She had so much fun that she went on the ride 5 times in a row!  It became her favorite ride!

I’m not sure if that was the best way to do things.  I didn’t like doing it that way at the time.  But I don’t regret it either–and I think on *rare* occasions, this is how God parents me.  Sometimes, I think he pushes me outside of my comfort zone so that I have nothing left BUT to see the beauty laid out for me… Sometimes He pushes my past my fears to do the wonderful things He has called me to do.  But I think such occasions are rare, just as I think they need to be rare with my child.

More often than not, I think that when God has something else for us and we’re focused on “this thing” God allows us to pursue this thing while gently guiding us towards the better thing, until we get tired of “this thing” or His thing appeals to us more, and then we make the decision for ourselves to embrace the thing that He’s got for us.

It’s not about Him circumventing our free will and badgering us into “His way”.  It’s about the fact that He knows us, and knows what will excite our Spirit and connect with our very beings and help us step into the people we were created to be, and fill our hearts with the deepest of Joy.  So He lays these things out for us, and then helps us to catch sight of these things.. to understand what they really are—and at that point WE DECIDE to follow Him there.

This is how I want to parent my child.  I want her to make the decision herself.  This morning she was intent on doing something that I know she actually hates.  So I kept on offering her the other option, while helping her to get ready to do the thing she hates (go in a shower–she hates the water falling directly on her head) and then just as she was about to step into the shower, she decided for herself that she wanted to do the other option i’d laid out for her.  And after this encounter I mused about God’s parenting, and how I think, ultimately, this really is how God parents us almost all the time.  He sets parametres that keeps us ultimately safe, he goads and prompts, encourages, chides, and ordains things for us, but despite being omnipotent, doesn’t exert control or force on us.  He beckons us into choice!

And if the God of the universe doesn’t need to flex to show His children who is in control…  Why should I ever feel that need!?
God is bigger