Tag Archives: children

When the Usual Parenting Technique Doesn’t Cut It

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children most important

“Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.” C. S. Lewis

I wish I had written down all of the things that I used to believe about parenting so that after having 3 kids I could have something humorous to laugh about when things get a little crazy up in here. Isn’t it true that we believe some pretty ridiculous ideas concerning how to parent a child? Most of these ideas start with…

“I would never do _____.”

“I can’t believe anyone would _____.”

“I am certain I would _____.”

Like I said, ridiculous.

For one, it reeks of judgment. And secondly, these statements are spoken in ignorance.

I used to think that because I worked with children before I had kids, I would have an upper hand on what to do as a parent. Sorry, Charlie, it doesn’t work that way.

After having my first child, I learned quickly certain “techniques” worked well and others … not so much. I subscribed to the “do what you need to do to survive” theory for a LOT of my son’s first year. He was colicky, and he was THE FIRST CHILD. You know what I mean! We’re all a little crazy with the first one, but we learn and they survive, and we become a little less crazy after the second one is born. I did whatever worked for my son and for me, and he seems to be turning out okay. 😉

Now I knew that I had some ridiculous ideas about what parenting a child would look like, and I knew that every child would be different, but I wasn’t prepared for the reality that I may have to parent my two children in two separate ways. I’m still trying to figure this out, so if you’ve come to read some inspirational and new technique for parenting your kids, I must apologize. I do believe that knowing is half the battle! I know that my 3 sons all have different personalities, and one of them most definitely has a different personality from my own!

So here’s what has helped me:

 

  • Am I parenting from my own personality and trying to force my way onto a child with a different personality (when his way may be fine)? Is it worth the battle?
    • Example: I want you to clean your room. Here are the boxes. Cars go here. Trains go here. Dinosaurs go here. Clothes go here. (MY WAY)
    • (HIS WAY) I will clean but I don’t care about your boxes. At least I’m picking up, right?
  • Am I learning to appreciate my child’s differences from me rather than being frustrated that he’s different?
    • He is passionate and wears his emotions on his sleeve and this is good because he can learn to be passionate about something that truly matters.
  • Am I casting a vision for my child, seeing the positive side of his personality rather than being fixated on the negative?
    • Positive: knows what he wants, has a strong will thus a strong leadership capability, doesn’t back down easily
    • Negative: stubborn, strong-willed, argumentative
  • Am I intentionally speaking truth into his life rather than taking the easy road and ordering him to obey?
    • When he yells “no, I’m not going to listen to you!” for the 15th time while in line at Target, I may respond quietly and then let the teachable moment happen later when I talk to him about how God is going to do great things in his life but having that kind of attitude is not respectful to me or beneficial to him.
    • Or I might just threaten him with a spanking and argue back that he’s being rude and to stop interrupting me (which usually just escalates the yelling).
  • Have I realized that I can’t do everything perfectly and still need help? Am I praying for my child’s heart and not just his behavior? Could it be that there is a spiritual battle going on and what I really need to do is ask for God’s protection over him and for God to work in his life?

 

What I know for certain is that I am a different person than who I was before I had children. They are not setbacks or inconveniences in my life. God has used them to refine me more than I’d like to admit! They are a blessing from the Lord. A heritage.

And I’m going to keep reminding myself of this every time it feels less than peaceful in my home.

Meeting Spiderman

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I just wanted to get in and out of the store without talking to anyone, without melt downs from my kids, without being there for an hour (there HAS to be some kind of time vortex in grocery stores that suck your time, minimum of 1 hour…). Maybe this comes with the territory of being slightly introverted. Avoid eye contact. Smile when necessary. Just hunt down the items on your list and get to the check out.

Today was NOT that day. In fact, it’s not most of my shopping days. And it’s all because of those little people sitting in my cart that I affectionately call my sons.

This is how the scenario usually unfolds: My youngest waves and says “hi, I James” to everyone (but that’s not his name mind you, it’s his older brother’s name…). Then the older one corrects him to the stranger who has just received a toddler’s greeting and explains, “he’s not James, he’s Timothy. I’m James.” And I just laugh and smile and tell the stranger, “yep, he’s right. Silly boys” as I refrain from running away so the conversation doesn’t have to go anywhere else. I’ve got an agenda, ya know?

Well this time, my youngest changed things up on me. As we round the corner to aisle 5 (which means I still have at least 12 or more aisles to go people!), he shouts out, “pyer-man!” (For those of you who don’t speak toddlerese, that’s Spiderman.) Naturally he’s speaking of the man who is changing out the grocery store trash, because he OBVIOUSLY looks like Spiderman…black man, about 50 years old, bald, glasses, wearing a navy blue shirt. Right, son, that’s Spiderman.

So then I feel like I need to explain to the man what my 2-year-old just said just so he knows it wasn’t something bad (you never know how people translate little 2-year-old boy’s speech). Spiderman comes over to our cart and what happened could only be explained as a divine appointment. This man was so good with my two boys, and my two boys obviously thought his man was as cool as Spiderman (maybe that was what was going on in my 2 year old’s mind?? “He’s cool, just like…Spiderman” ?).

I’ll bet that people ignore this man all day long as he goes about his business of changing the trash in this gigantic store. I’m guessing he seems invisible to a lot of people, particularly those who are in the store just to get in and out (who is so busy to be that way??). But isn’t it interesting how children are so unlike us adults? In a good way, I mean. They’re so friendly to everyone, and what I’ve seen more often than not, is that the people my children greet respond in a very positive way. Their day is brightened or else they end up blessing me and my kids. It almost never fails. And I’m just trying to get out of there. Shame on me.

This introvert is learning some very important lessons from two little blessing-givers. The ironic part is that I have been trying to ingrain this message into my older son for a long time now. People are more important than ___ (toys, winning, getting my grocery list knocked out in record time to avoid the time vortex). Every time my oldest starts fighting with my youngest over a toy, I yell (yes, I do yell …sometimes) “your brother is more important than you having that toy, son!” Then I roll my eyes and wonder, sometimes aloud much to my shame, “why can’t he get that through his head?!” Um. Guilty as charged. I have a big plank in my eye on this one.

How is it that my 2 and 5-year-old see the value in the people around us better than I do? I have seen them brighten someone’s day way more than I can count. It’s a thing of beauty. Like I said earlier, it often ends up being a blessing to me. I end up beaming with joy to see my littles minister to people who are probably just trying to mind their own business as they tackle a list. I imagine this is much how Jesus viewed His time with the people He encountered.

He never seemed too busy to stop and talk or touch or teach.

He never seemed like one to hide or blend in just so He would go unnoticed to fulfill His list of things to do.

He took the time to let people know that He saw them. Really SAW them. Because He is the God who sees.

He sees the janitor changing the trash cans. He sees the single dad walking aimlessly down the aisles. He sees the cashier bagging the groceries. And He sees the mom with two little boys and invites them to see with Him.

I’m working on seeing with His eyes. I’m learning to be patient and let my kids greet every last patron in the store because you just never know who might need to experience a bit of Jesus through some little children. Hey, even Spiderman needs Jesus!

That’s my challenge I guess. Seeing people and not just trying to avoid them. Looking for opportunities to be a blessing and not just keeping to myself. Who knows, maybe we’ll get to meet Thor next time. 🙂 (and maybe he can do something about that time vortex!)