Monday, July 30, 2012

Lessons

As a parent, there are days you think, "Really, kid?  Really!?  Have I taught you nothing?"  Or perhaps, "Am I the worst parent ever?"

Yesterday was one of those days...

I try to use our daily moments to teach my children about...well, everything!  About life, about showing kindness to others, about our relationship with God and God's love for us, about social responsibility...everything.

Yesterday...I got to show my kids grace.

It was hard.  My youngers were wiggly and pestery during praise and worship - my unabashedly favorite part of church.  Instead of being irritated, I (mostly) spoke calm correction or simply shifted people in the pew.  My olders decided to save their facepalm-worthy activities for after lunch - when my firstborn and a friend barricaded themselves in the house and my #2 led a charge of hippity-hop bearing neighborhood kids through our house to land a barrage of bouncy blows on his older sib, leading her to conclude calling 911 was the best recourse for reinforcements.

Yes.  Really.

I was embarrassed.  I was angry.  I was frustrated.  Did I mention embarrassed?  But I didn't yell.  I spoke intensely, but in a controlled manner.  I reiterated our house rules (gentle hands, ie no hitting; get permission before allowing friends in the house; 911 is for life-and-death emergencies only).  I imposed consequences.  I listened to excuses and asked questions.  But most of all, I reiterated my unconditional love for my children.  I hugged and wiped tears.  I reassured them that I would not allow guilt and consequences to crush them, but instead we would use the experience to shape us all for the better.

Yesterday...was difficult.  But it was oh, so good.  Not in the theme park, scream-til-you're-hoarse, eat-junk-til-you're-dizzy, happy-happy-fun good.  But Everest-of-laundry-conquering, awe-inspiring, relief-inducing, job-well-done good.

Yesterday...my kids learned the consequences of ill-thought actions.  But they also experienced the security of unconditional love and the wasteful abundance of grace.