We had a wonderful sermon by pastor John this past Sunday regarding parenting and like his many other sermons, it made me take a long and in-depth look at myself as a mother…
Below are 3 things that I learned:
1. Bring them up to be INDEPENDENT of you (parent) and DEPENDENT on God
This changes everything! It is true that our goal is not making our children to do what we want them to do. After all, we can’t control them and I hear that all the time from our friends with teenage children. If I let go of the “control” over my child, which I don’t really have in my possession to begin with, and let God in to do His work, things get so much easier. My child belongs to God and God alone and I’m just a tool for God to use on earth to provide guidance and help. It is not my responsibility as to what my child does with her life because that’s between her and her God. I’m just here to provide any help along the way.
Bella is taking swim lessons these days. One of the things that her swim instructor teaches is for Bella to swim to the wall/edge of the pool and get to the steps or entrance of the pool for safety. This morning, as I watched her swim instructor let Bella go in the middle of the pool so that she can swim to the wall by herself, it occurred to me that I’m supposed to be a swim instructor for Bella. No, not literally! :-) The wall of the pool, which is Bella’s safety zone, is God and all I have to do as her swim coach is to teach her the way and guide her BUT not interfere with her journey to the wall. The journey was up to Bella and I had no control over it! I know, I actually learned something at Bella’s swim lesson! :-)
So, I’m going to be Bella’s swim coach and I’m going to do my best to help her to get to the wall of the pool without holding on to her. And pray (and pray very hard!) that she’ll depend on that wall for the rest of her life as if her life depends on it!
If I’m not accepting my child the way she is, I’m simply rejecting her. Ouch! This one will be a hard one for me to practice since I love doing things my own way. But I know my child is NOT mini-me and she should be her own person without fear of rejection (Jesus, please help her and me!).
I once watched Gwyneth Paltrow talking about her dad on a TV talk show about how he would let her do anything and everything, especially in the kitchen. She said it made her to be her own person without fear because her dad didn’t care what she put in the eggs or the mess she created. Because of that, she always thought she can achieve anything. Wow…I thought about myself and how I interact with my daughter. Yes, it’s simple and it didn’t take me long to realize that I’m not like that AT ALL!
I control everything so that everything is kept neat and clean and done in “right way,” which normally means my way. My poor child, she’s so restricted by her own mother! :-( I must say though that I try very hard these days to give my daughter as much freedom as she wants. Yes, this means I have to bite my tongues a thousand times during certain projects and I constantly try to calm my heart palpitation. But you know what? It’s totally worth it because Bella has so much fun and I end up having fun as well. Now, cleaning up afterwards is totally a different story but I won’t bring that up right now. :-)
Bella said on our way home from her swim lesson this morning, “Daddy is going to be so proud of me!” when I told her that we should call Daddy and tell him how well she did today. I love my daughter more than anything in this world and I want her to know that every second of her life. I want her to feel safe with me and be herself without worrying about being accepted. And that means I need to show her my acceptance of her through my loving words, actions and prayers and do it daily. That is the least I can do for her who brings so much joy into my life….
3. Time (Kids needs a quantity of quality time)
It doesn’t matter what good intentions I have for my child with all the extra activities and privileges if I’m not spending quality time with her. Duh! I grew up without all the fancy stuff, enriching experiences or music or sports lessons and I must say that I turned out just fine. (Now, I was missing quality time as well and I still turned out just fine so I must be God’s miracle! *^^*) Bella often asks me, “Mommy, will you sit with me and play?” and it just melts my heart every time. I know one day (her teenage years, most likely), she will have nothing to do with me. So I’m going to take advantage of this time where she thinks her Mommy is still cool! *^^* And this means, hubby, I won’t be doing the dishes, laundry or any house chores because I’ll be busy spending time with our little princess! :-)