At the pool party she asked me how I got such nice kids. She hoped that her kids would be like mine. I looked over at my two girls playing with the little 3 year olds in the pool. The boys were helping the toddlers get their lifejackets on.
How do I explain to someone that we were very intentional? From the beginning.
I remember when I first noticed that everyone did not parent the same. I watched little “Carl” (names changed) push another little boy down a flight of stairs, in church. The push was intentional and so was the malice. Carl’s parents thought it was an accident and consoled him. Meanwhile the other child had a possible broken arm, with dazed parents looking at the defiant boy getting away with poor behaviour. No apologies.
This was true. I think my mouth was open in aghast the whole time.
Wardan was just a baby at the time. I knew then what I did NOT want my son to be like, and what I did not want to be like as a mom.
So I began to ask a lot of questions to moms with older kids. Once, while waiting for dance class, I chatted about Shelley’s daughters’ upcoming graduation. I wondered how rules work with a gr. 12 kid. Her response:
“So do you wonder if there is a curfew and if she has to pay for things? Of course there is! She has to be home at 11 and if she wants the fancy runners she has to work another shift.”
Thank you for telling me that!! I thought that “everyone” else has no rules, and that we must be wierd. A word of thought…remember who is telling you that everyone else is. YOUR KIDS!!
My boys tell me that their friends and cousins say we’re strict – because they are not allowed to watch certain movies and have limits on the xbox. Basically there are restrictions.
Years ago I might have cared. I tell the boys it’s because we love them and want whats best for them. Sometimes they get it and sometimes they don’t. But really, without rules, anything goes literally means anything goes. (think of the boy pushing down the stairs incident!!)
Why do some think unconditional love means no-conditions? No limitations or boundaries? That is not love. That is pure permission.
Un-Conditional love for my children means that I will love them WHEN they make mistakes and BECAUSE they aren’t perfect.
They are developing life skills. But this does require discipline and boundaries so that they can learn. Playing on the x-box for hours on end does not create a person who knows how to look for the hurting or down-hearted. It does not create any life skills like kindness or empathy. So we limit it. Our goal is to teach them SELF-discipline, so that one day they can fulfil their purpose on earth that God gave them.
Can you tell we’ve been bumping into these sort of experiences lately? It’s on my mind. Sometimes I feel a little like ranting. The basic laws of cause and effect are often ignored and we, my kids included, have to learn how to navigate with others with different boundaries and still have grace. Yes, grace. This is hard.
I think it’s time for a summer break!