Friday, June 21, 2013

Who Gets to Choose?

:::A blog post about Mommas that could be about Daddy's too:::

Cookies or chicken for dinner?

Play video games all night or rest well?

Play outside or in?

Study or not?

Stretch your comfort zone or stay settled?

Which would your kids choose?

This parenting gig is tricky.  Sixteen and a half years ago, my first born was placed in my arms and my husband and I began this walk together.  Some days, we have chosen paths for them (and for us) that are easy and agreeable.  But, some days the choices are cloudy and we rely heavily on our limited wisdom and experience to decide what is needful for our children and what truly matters to our family and try as we might, the "right-ness" of those decisions can be a little less sure than we hope.

It is hard to know what is best...

But, of this I am sure:  my children are not the best judges of what is best for them.  Left to their own devices, they would choose as children choose and I think I am glad for this because it does, in fact, prove that my sweet babies are blessed with a lives that allow them to be children.  Not everyone has been offered this privilege.  But, given that they are young and their view is limited and their goals for themselves are sometimes smaller than need be, the choices made on their behalf can sometimes be met with resistance.

What's a momma to do?

What's a momma to do when she knows that piano lessons are truly a gift and the child doesn't feel like practicing?  What's a momma to do when she knows the value of fruits and veggies and unprocessed foods and the child is sure that a bag of chips and a cookie provides more than enough protein to get by?  What's a momma to do when she knows that being present with those you are present with means more than texting the person who is elsewhere and the child is sure that being in contact electronically with many matters more than seeing the face of the one nearby?  What's a momma to do when she knows that camp experiences matter, that growth and laughter come out of relationship and community and that kids learn much about themselves when they step out in faith and the child is sure that it matters most to be still and home and without plan or structure?

What's a momma to do?

It is all so hard.

But today, I am reminding myself that on that day when I first held my son, I had to learn a new reliance on God.  Because, left to my own devices, my choices can be much like those of my children.  Today, I am reminding myself, that these four children have been entrusted to me.  Not given to me.  And for the very few years that I get to share with them, it is my job to seek wisdom and to act on it.  And there is nothing easy about that.  But the truth is that I did not just get the title of  "Mom", I got the job itself.  And within that endless job description, we will find points like these:

~The Mom will deeply know each child.  She will learn about their God-given strengths and weaknesses.

~The Mom will find ways to enforce said strengths and build up such weaknesses.

~The Mom will find opportunities for her children to learn and grow in ways that are needful and ways that are fun.

~The Mom will provide a home that serves as a launching pad, preparing her children for the necessary life lessons and experiences that her children will encounter.

~The Mom will provide a home that serves as a landing pad, welcoming home from experiences and enfolding her children back into family life again and again and again.

~The Mom will pray and dream for her children.

~The Mom will listen to the words and hearts of her children.

~The Mom will stand firm in what she feels is right and needful, even in the face of childhood adversity.

~The Mom will teach her children to choose well by allowing them to practice but will never give a choice where a choice is not given.

There is no end to this list.  No end.

The truth is we have to actually be the Mom.  And what that means is that I will act out of love on behalf of my kids.  When they like it.  And when they don't.

Which is hard.

So yes, they will eat their veggies, practice piano, volunteer their time, turn off the TV, stretch their comfort zones, do their homework and be held accountable to the whole of it.  Not because I am mean but because I love them dearly and because every day God allows me a little glimpse into who they might become.  And some days they can see that, too.  But some days they cannot.  So, while we are here together, I am going to try to focus on the big picture and stand up for what is needful and pray and pray and pray for them even when they fuss about what we choose.  Even when it is hard and I am weary and we do not all agree.

Because, I am their Mom.  And because he is their Dad.  And the job is big and difficult and beautiful and today, I choose to do it.  Out of the big-ness of this love, I choose to do it.

Blessings on your day.

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