Monday, September 21, 2009

Here's the Thing.

So, if the goal of parenting is to teach my children to behave appropriately and grow into fully functioning, independent, God-fearing men of integrity and with good manners who honor women and respect authority,

(pause to take a breath)

then here's the glitch in the dailiness of it:

Our most productive days are the ones most difficult to endure.

(Is this true anywhere else, in any other profession? Who else says, "Oh, everything went wrong today. Nobody followed the guidelines in the handbook. We were so productive. Those are they days when we get the most done.")

When they obey, treat each other kindly, put away their toys, and act within the set boundaries, sure, learning happens. But those days reinforce what we set in place on another, much harder, day.

They learn the most when they whine, test me, push buttons, practice poor manners, destroy toys, hurt each other, and disobey . . . and then feel the consequences. Which means I have to be the one on my toes, forever ready to respond directly and appropriately (with a calm, firm voice, please, God) so they can experiment and see without fail exactly the effect of their causes.

Those trying days offer the most authentic learning . . . and bend me backward in exhaustion, or on my knees asking for grace (sometimes both, in one acrobatic swoop).

When they're learning the most, we're working toward the goal.

This is one tough gig.


Mellifluous said...

"This is one tough gig" Understatement of the century

Amy said...

wow...great thoughts! i will be the 1st to buy your parenting book when it hits the stores!