April 21, 2010

And the Wheel Goes 'Round

Whew! I just popped on over to Daring Young Mom and took her link to Parenting...to read her post today about lectures vs. advice as a parent.

And I must say that she stopped me in my tracks this afternoon...

The gist of her post (but hop on over and read it if my links work - dumb blog is giving me fits) is that while growing up she could pinpoint the precise difference between her folks lecturing her, or providing good advice, but as she's grown and become a parent, that difference seems to have blurred a bit. Until she walked in on her 2 older kids arguing over something important to them but mundane to her. She gave the parental spiel on being kind, not getting what we want, needing to watch your attitude and the rest of the things we as parents say to our children to clam them down and teach them a very important lesson all at the same time. Her daughter was angry, and stayed that way, until she (the mom) remembered choosing to stay angry and how it made her feel, and how she's still sorry for it. She simply looked at her daughter in the rearview mirror, told her she loved her and understood how she's feeling right, choosing to stay mad and mean and that she didn't ever want her children to go through life feeling that way.

And then she realized that the difference between lecture and advice is the attitude of the recipient...our children have to be ready to hear our words, otherwise, it is simply a big ugly lecture that will fall on deaf ears and a hardened heart...oh that rocky, thorny soil.

This goes along with a post from another dear friend of mine about relationships and the public us vs the private us...and how we "perform" one way when we're out in public, where people can see us, and then we're completely different when we're at home, where no one but our family can see how we're behaving. (you know what, my friend? I think we're all guilty of this in one fashion or another, but I'll talk about that later)

And it struck me that I do this all the time. I am one person when I'm in my Moms' Group, and another when BB and I are at home, and still another at Small Group, and yet again another with my whole family. And while I'm dealing with how to be the me I want to be all the time, praying for God to help me be the kind of wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend that He wants me to be, it also struck me that it goes right along with being more sensitive as to what is causing the behavior I don't like in my children.

Are they really fighting over the toy, or are they getting tired and hungry? Are they frustrated because I'm not truly engaging with them, or are they just missing sitting in our quiet chair? Do I choose to brush them off because I'm truly having to do whatever household task I'm involved in, or is it because I just don't want to be bothered to read "Good Night Moon" for the 87th time in less than 2 hours?

After reading these 2 posts, I realized that I have a lot of work to do in myself...I want to be a kind, loving person that is warm, caring, gentle - but I want it to be real, not because it's what people expect. I want my kids to look back on their childhood and remember not a shiny clean house and mom who was always busy with something else, but a mom who built Lego creations and blanket forts, who ran around the yard chasing them, who let them blow bubbles in the tub, and splash and make puddles on the floor, and who would let them stir whatever I was making in the kitchen...I want them to remember snuggling up on the couch to watch a Veggies DVD after we read 37 books. I want them to remember that I understood how they were feeling, and helped them deal with those feelings in good ways...that I helped them understand what it means to be a good friend...what it means to be a kind person...

So, I have a lot praying and changing to do...because I want my wheel to change direction, and not perpetuate the negative things I recall from my own childhood. Just as BB and I want to change the way our family looks at money, that is only a part of it...I want them to understand that they can change who they are, and how they behave, as well as how their material lives look...

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