This month has been the month of epiphanies for me. New realizations keep coming my way; little things that aren't rocket science but seem to take me forever to figure out. I've been doing a lot of soul searching and praying lately that I can be a better parent. My children are so unique from one another and it often feels so overwhelming trying to parent each one to their specific needs. Heavenly Father knows them better than anyone and He knows how best to do the job.
So I've been trying to find guidance in this eternal quest. What I've come to see is that these precious people are brand new citizens of this world and they are only trying to figure things out. I've decided to take on a new approach in dealing with them that is more the way that Heavenly Father and the Savior deal with each of us. Patience, love, compassion, understanding, and most of all, respect. Ever since Ethan became a toddler he has been somewhat diificult for me because I don't get him. He is shy and submissive and easily prevoked and embarrassed. As I've struggled with trying to better understand him, I've come to realize that I don't have to understand him. I only have to love him.
Today had been a long day as usual and at dinner I was feeling pretty beat. Not two seconds after we sat down Ethan spilled his milk and splattered it all over the floor, the wall, and the curtains. My initial instinct was to scream and yell. He imediately said "Oh Mom, I'm so sorry. That was all my fault." Then his face turned beat red. I sat there for a second then calmly said "That's okay Buddy, but can you please help me clean it up?" Ethan just sat there. He starred at the floor and wouldn't look at me. He came across as just being angry and defiant, but I knew better. He was mortified. I continued to ask him to help me clean it up but he still wouldn't budge. I got down on his level and lifted his chin so I could look him in the eye. I told him that accidents happen and he didn't have to feel embarrassed. I wasn't mad, but I would get pretty mad if he didn't do his part to clean it up. After I had him convinced that I wasn't mad, his demenor changed and he was happy again.
I felt like screaming from the roof tops how beautifully I handled that situation. I could ahve lost my temper and blown a fuse but I tried to see things from my little boy's perspective. This is something I'm really trying to overcome; my instinctive attitude that I'm the parent, I'm in charge, and it's my way or the highway. These kids are only trying to survive and learn as they go. I'm trying to take these little events and turn them into teaching tools, not only so I can teach my children, but so they can teach me.
I heard someone say "When we adults think of children there is a simple truth that we ignore: childhood is not preparation for life; childhood is life. A child isn't getting ready to live; a child is living. No child will miss the zest and joy of living unless these are denied by adults who have convinced themselves that childhood is a period of preparation and only that. How much heartache we would save ourselves if we would recognize children as partners with adults in the process of living, rather than always viewing them as apprentices. How much we could teach each other; we have the experience and they have the freshness. How full both our lives could be."
I am trying to live by this. When I get angry and impatient with the Lord because He is doing something that I don't understand, He doesn't just shut me out and say "Because I'm God, that's why." He teaches me through expericne and often times through other people so that I can see the greater plan through my narrow eyes. He gives us chances to grow and branch out so we can gain wisdom.
This morning while I was doing my hair Ethan came in and said "Mom, Hailey wants some strawberry milk." I told him I'd come out there and make it when I was done. A little while later I went into the kitchen to see Ethan and Hailey at the table...and Ethan was making the milk himself!!! I was blown away. He had gotten a glass from the cupboard, gotten the milk off the top shelf of the fridge, and poured it himself with out spilling a drop.
When I walked in and saw this I was mad at first because he'd "disobeyed" me. But then I stopped and just watched him continue the process and I grabbed my camera. He was beaming with pride! I told him I was so proud of him, but then explained that he should ask me first before he pours a glass of milk. He said okay and smiled. For the most part I've done well at behaving myself today and I proud. I'm not letting my children walk on me, but I'm striving to see things through their eyes so I can better help them understand the world, the laws that govern it, and merely how to survive. This is my goal from here on out.