August 27, 2014

What Will You Choose?

I'm finding, more and more, as I age, as my children reach new areas of development, as I interact with more and more people during my weekdays, that it is far too easy to choose convenience and ease and comfort...

The other day, while BB was away on business, the kids and I had 3 days of wonderfulness - everyone was cooperative, willing, cheerful, joyful, helpful.  We were early to places, had fun together reading, playing games, visiting the museum, enjoying special treats of meals.  Then we had 2 days of not-quite-as-wonderful as school started and the older kids had a little trouble settling into the routine and not taking their exhaustion and anxiety out upon each other.  We still had fun, just not nearly as much.  We had one truly awful day wherein I felt as though I did nothing but scream, degrade and belittle my children and every other person with whom I came into contact.

BB came home, the kids were still cranky.  We spent the weekend running, getting in "quality time".  Monday morning, BB and I both rousted ourselves out of bed, worked out together, and we were only 5 minutes late leaving the house for school.  I had a hugely productive day on some things which I'd been putting off for months...I felt good - things were done, I was organized and prepared, the kids were unwilling, but cooperated anyway...yesterday was a little better, but I was, quite frankly, physically and mentally spent at the end of my 9.5 hours away from the house.  I came home to find BB and the older kids already eating dinner - but only half of dinner, as he'd either failed to see and read the note I'd left, OR he'd decided to just ignore it.  He complained about what was for dinner, how it'd been prepared.  Then the kids picked it up, complaining about how they'd wanted something different and better.  They didn't do their chores until I asked them multiple times, and then they were done with lousy attitudes and not completely or well.

I, for the record, am a perfectionist.  I'd rather not do something at all, than to do it less then perfectly.  I'm working on this...HOWEVER, I do not expect perfection from my children.  I do expect full effort and concentration as we learn new things, be they academic or not.  I do expect them to complete a task fully - not partially.  I expect them to give it their best effort and to do it as well as they can.

As we awoke this morning, the kids were tired, dragging themselves slowly out of bed, getting dressed at what seemed a snail's pace, loitering over eating their breakfast...

I, in my frustration, laid some heavy burdens on their little shoulders.  While I didn't come right out and tell them they were failures and it was their fault (they're 8 and 6 1/2) that I was frustrated and angry, that was the message that was clearly conveyed.

I don't want to be a parent that threatens my children and bribes them to choose the right.  If you clean your room, you can have ice cream.  Get good grades and I'll pay you.  If you don't get in here right now and clean up, I'm throwing these toys away.  I have always wanted to be a parent that is able to say "this is right.  It may not be easy, fun or desirable, but it is right.  We will, therefore, choose it.  That is all."  and then have that happen.  I realize that's not life.

I had a spiritual Gibbs moment as I was walking into the Church with Littlest One to drop her at school and get myself to work.

She gave me a hug, looked at me with her little turned up nose and freckles, big blue eyes serious, and said "Mama - please don't stop loving us because we were bad" then trotted off to school, happy as a clam, as though nothing was wrong.

I firmly believe God spoke through my 4 year old this morning...

God doesn't stop loving me because I choose to sin.  God doesn't stop loving us when we turn away from Jesus.  He extends His grace and mercy time and time and time again...He could easily employ His righteous anger and choose to seek vengeance against me...but He doesn't.  He loves me, He gives me chance after chance after chance...

And I realized this morning, that it's up to me.  I can't force my kids to be kind and loving or do what they're supposed to do.  But I can choose to gently, firmly, and consistently guide them in their lives.

Will it be easy, fun, comforting, the fastest way to do things?  Nope...but that's ok.

I'm going to choose right, because it's right.  I'm going to choose to love, because I'm loved by God.  I'm going to choose to be the person God wants me to be, because to do less is throwing the gift of His Son in His face...

What are you choosing today?

No comments: