Friday, November 13, 2009

far from grace

I'm constantly thinking about my children's behavior.  Are they growing up to be nice?  Obedient?  Grateful?  Are they kind?  Helpful?  Why do they still complain about toy pick-up, after all these years?  Why don't they instantly say thank you?

It goes on and on.  I'm afraid it's consistent with my being a highly conscientious person.  I do these parenting self-checks to make sure I'm doing my best to prepare them for life.

Awhile back, I learned from the book Different Children, Different Needs, that I am what is called a corrective parent.  Turns out that conscientious people not only correct themselves, but they correct their family as well.  A lot.

Ugh!  Exactly what I don't want to be!  Corrective.  It even sounds ugly.

The other day I was reading a child-rearing tips blog post.  This mother served one of two lunches to her large brood everyday.  She said the children didn't complain, nor would she have let them complain.

Excuse me?  You mean I shouldn't be making three different breakfasts every morning, to satisfy three different children?  And I shouldn't be buying a certain kind of whole wheat tortilla, to satisfy my Timothy?  He should just eat what I serve, or go to bed, perhaps?

When I read such child-rearing posts, I always question whether we're strict enough.  What's wrong with us?  Should we spank every day?  Take away more?  Why are we working on the same behaviors for so long?  Why are they so restless and active, compared to some?

If only we would correct more, they would behave better.  Right?

I used to think that.  But not now.  It's too discouraging to the child.  The more we correct, the less they want to conform.  Consistency is key, but excessive correction is poison.

And I have a confession to make.  I'm not more perfect than they are.  Sometimes I have fits.  Sometimes I'm not kind, or patient, or loving.  Sometimes I rant and rave about the toys.....about the shoes......about the mud........about the water splashed outside the tub......about the jacket not on the hook.....about the cheesestick wrapper left on the floor.

What if I made a tape of myself?   Would I want to throw up after hearing just one day?  I'm sure I would destroy it as quickly as possible, lest anyone else ever hear it.  Dealing with an ADHD child doesn't exactly boost parental mood, let me tell you.

But God is patient with me.  He sees me as an individual, because he made me one.  He works with me on one or two things at a time.  He is sacrificial more than corrective.

I'm ashamed of the behavior I've displayed, especially in the last month during these two illnesses.  Being sick depresses me.  Not an excuse, just an unfortunate reality.

Tomorrow is a new day.  I want to look at my children in a new way.  Not as projects.  No more of that.

I want to see them as beautiful works in progress.  I want to encourage, love, support, and nurture them.  I want to laugh with them.   I want to be someone they genuinely like.  Someone they want to emulate.

I'm sorry, Lord.  I repent.  Help me to extend grace and mercy to my children, while they work at shedding their childish ways.  Help me to parent like you do.  Remake me into someone who's humble, gentle and quiet-spirited.

1 comment:

Terri Tiffany said...

It's funny because even though my daughter is 25, married and a mom herself, I still wonder if I could have done better or something else etc etc. I think we as moms worry so much and really all we need to do is love our children, set healthy boundaries and give them our time. I can't change the past--wish I could, but I can be here today:) You sound like a great mom too cause you care enough to worry about how you are:)