Do you ever wonder if you are doing it right? Do you find yourself doubting the decisions you make as you parent your children or love your spouse? I do... a lot.
Elizabeth struggled with listening and had to learn the word consequence again.
Josiah got sloppy with finishing his chores and we remembered the importance of accountability.
Benjamin insisted on getting together with friends, regardless of schedule, and faced a season of 'tween disappointment.
Noah opted for attitude when asked for help and found himself confronted with truth.
And I was tired. Really tired. Does that ever happen to you? Finding myself on the short end is certainly no treat. I was looked at sideways, mumbled about under one's breath, maligned in sibling secrets and swiped at angrily. I raised my voice, gave too many reminders and was not forceful enough in my follow-through.
Sometimes, I really wonder if I am doing this right....
Maya Angelou has often said, "When you know better, you do better." My poor children have heard this more times than I can count. I love Maya Angelou but when it comes to children, this is just not always true. I try to teach them right from wrong, have them learn responsibility by helping at home and generally live in a way that is respectful to others. But, truth be told, even though they know better, their actions do not always show that.
By the end of the week, I was discouraged and weary. The battle is long and the stakes are high. I have been told that I take it all too seriously. That raising kids is really not this hard. Know what I think? I think it IS this hard... and some days HARDER. I think it has to do with goals... and long-term goals are hardest to measure.
But, maybe I need to back off. Maybe I need to cut them slack. Maybe some sass here and there is not nearly as serious as I think it is. Maybe they need to have more choices, less responsibility and less time being supervised. Maybe.... or maybe not.
At the end of the week, I collapsed on the couch and reached for the remote to relax a bit. A few minutes later, Noah came down and sat all 12.5 years of himself squarely on my lap. A little bit later, Benjamin joined us. He squished himself between me and the arm of the couch and grabbed my arm to wrap it around his shoulders. Josiah and EB wandered in next and both of them climbed onto the pile. Four little heads rested on me and all of them sat perfectly still. Maybe they just wanted to watch some TV. Maybe... or maybe not.
Some days I just don't know if I am doing this whole thing right. When the days are long and the fights drag on, when the glares are dark and the frustration high... on those days, I really don't know.
But somethings I do know for sure. Like:
-I am not in this to be their friend.
-I am not raising children. I am raising children to become adults.
-I am the one who has to hold the big picture. They are too young to see it.
-What I do and expect, comes from love.
-I believe they have an important job to do in God's big world. This is the time to get ready.
-Play and work, laughter and tears, joy and frustration all are a normal part of life.
-And, I am doing my best. Most days. : )
There is no way to know for sure, if what we are doing is right. But, maybe the issue is in the question itself. Maybe, it's not about finding a way that is right so much as finding a way that works.
Either way, I will have moments when I question the path we are on. I will have moments of doubt. But, at the end of the week, if I find myself on the bottom of an enormous pile of loving children who have sought me out, I think I will set my questions aside. Because honestly, this is answer enough.
Blessings on your day.
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