Monday, April 19, 2010

Step Aside

Parenting is a lifelong commitment. When you have your first baby, they don't give you a manual. But rest assured, that everyone you know (whether parents or not) will offer you their version of parenting advice to help you along the way.

Even with all of the sage advice you will receive, parenting will have many different challenges along the way. Just when you begin to feel comfortable with one age or stage of parenting, your child/children will surely outgrow that stage and you are both back to square one!

There is a side benefit to all of this parenting, though. All of the skills you are using on them, are being absorbed by your child/children. As they begin to mature, I encourage you to step aside from time to time and see if those seeds are ready to blossom.

Here's an example from my own family (I will refer to my children as child A and child B to preserve their privacy):

Recently, Child B (The younger of the two) was having a bad day. I had asked her not to place any liquids in her backpack, due to a recent rash of leaking water bottles which led to ruined backpacks. She unfortunately forgot my request, and placed an open orange soda into her backpack just before entering the house. Of course the lid was not on tightly and she screeched as she realized the soda had spilled onto everything in her backpack! Library books, notebooks, all soaking with orange soda!

I immediately jumped into clean up mode and began to soak up the orange sticky mess as best I could. All the while chastising child B for her mistake. This was probably not the best option for me, because my voice was raised as I was irritated with the whole situation. Child B immediately ran outside to get some air. I continued in clean up mode.

When I finally secured the area and realized child B was MIA, I raced outside, now I was in counselor mode. Child A was sitting beside her sister on the road and they were talking. Being in counselor mode, I rushed up and asked child B to take a walk with me.

She wiped her tears and began walking with me. As we strolled along, I found out that she was angry with herself for messing up. Child A had encouraged her to forgive herself, just as the Bible teaches. Counselor mom was not even needed here, so I gently applauded her and suggested that she hold onto the advice in case her siblings ever needed it.

In the months to come, child A had reason to get upset with herself and she retreated to her bedroom. Soon, I noticed child B heading for the bedroom door. After a few minutes, they both emerged seemingly unscathed by the events of the day. A little later that evening, child B quietly told me that she knew this was her opportunity to bring back that sound advice to her sibling.

It is a beautiful thing, when the parenting skills we strive to learn, are not only effective, but produce future fruit!

"But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man (or child) who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown." Matthew 13:23 (NIV parenthesis mine)



Edie said...

That is so sweet Sonya! It is a wonderful thing to see our kids begin to live out what we try so hard to teach them.

I think you were needed in the first scenario and you came along at just the right moment, with just the right words of encouragement to reinforce the sibling advice.

L. E. Neighbour said...

That's sweet. It truly is good and pleasant when siblings can dwell in unity and encourage each other like that :) So much better than siblings who fight/can't get along

Kelly Combs said...

This is what ever parent strives for in their parenting. You are blessed to see it take root!