Wednesday, September 09, 2015
It occurred to me this week that my two bigger girls can do their morning chores independently once I make them a list and they just do them all without any fussing most mornings. This is incredible and I am so thankful I stuck with that plan a few months ago when every morning's chore time was met with whining and time-outs and fussing and slow responses. There were days that I was so ready to give up on this specific work habit I wanted to develop with my children. But the peaceful way we all go about helping one another most mornings now is really a blessing. There are days that someone wakes up on the wrong side of the bed and those are harder days but mostly this helps get our day off on the right foot.
I have been getting some encouraging comments- often from strangers - about how well-behaved my kids are in public. This is not to say we don't have our moments even in public (and DEFINITELY not to say that good behavior is the same at home all the time because my kids bicker and argue and try shenanigans and spend a lot of time in time-out: even as I write this, one dearling was sent to her room until lunch for pushing her sister), but can I just say that it is so uplifting to have other people notice and praise the results in your children's character of all the training we do at home about how we talk with one another and treat one another in loving thankfulness for God's love for us. For me as a mom, it is kind like the feeling one would probably get from a boss noticing your hard work and commenting on it without even realizing how many hours and sweat and tears you have poured into it and for someone who thrives on words of encouragement, this helps motivate me and encourage me to keep going. I have had some people write off my girls' sweetness as us "being lucky" to have such "easy kids." Sometimes this seems like a way to excuse their own children's behaviors or despair over their specific point in the parenting journey. I can recognize this but on a heart level this kind of comment always stings because a) my kids and I are as human and sinful as the next person and b) training up these children in the ways they should go is my life's work, my magnum opus, and it completely minimizes my calling and work for the past 6 years. I want to look these friends in the eyes and say,
"Don't give up. You and I both can have children who love well and love deeply and listen respectfully and obey quickly. We both can do this - but we must be willing to put the exhausting effort and enveloping time into helping our little ones develop life-long good habits and responses to God and others around them. We must be humble together in the things we don't know and the things we fail at, and I will be the first to admit that I yell too much and I fail more than I succeed and I spend too much time worrying about myself and what I need, and therefore I know I can't take credit or blame for how my children turn out now and later. But this is not luck. This is not easy. This is back-breaking selfless labor that we are called to as faithful parents no matter how God blesses that labor in the end. I don't understand the interplay of faithful parenting with God's graceful plan all the time but I do know we must be intentional in training our children and then do what we intend. Let's do it together."