There is this new phenomenon going around. Maybe it's not new; maybe I'm just now noticing it. People hate their kids. Maybe not hate, but I assure you; the way people talk about their kids...yeah I'm going to say hate.
The other day we had some friends over for a snack. The wife is a 2nd grade teacher. We were talking about our summer plans and I said that I cannot wait until summer is here and my kids are home everyday. Both husband and wife began to laugh. They thought I was joking. So in true Melissa fashion, I said...what's so funny. They thought I was being sarcastic. But I wasn't. I really really wasn't. They didn't believe me and they thought I was just messing with them. I proceeded to explain that I was in fact being serious and they said that they never hear parents say that when on the cusp of summer break.
It seems that right before school lets out this is what you hear: mom’s complaining about the LOOOOONG summer with kid’s home and how it will annoy them, or I hear positive remarks about losing the schedule, but it's not for the kids, it's positive for the moms. So my question is, why do we hate our kids when they are a mirror of ourselves and our parenting? Does that mean that we hate ourselves? Do we find ourselves annoying? I certainly for one do find MOST people very annoying...but that's another topic altogether.
If we see a flaw in our kids that annoys to no end, isn't that just a call to duty. I get excited when I see that something I've been doing, in the way of parenting, is wrong and causing bad habits. Why do I get excited, well it's a challenge...a goal. An opportunity to research and study and put new practices into action that will make my kids better offspring, better siblings, better friends, better examples. It's an experience that I can grow from and learn from. I can share and be a help to my other friends that may be dealing with the same thing.
I don't sit and complain about how a certain behavior is driving me nuts (unless I'm seeking advice that is). I CHANGE the behavior. I don't want to hate my kids. I had kids so I can have best friends. Lots of them. I have the opportunity to raise my best friends. What an amazing gift that is. Why miss the opportunity to shape them into righteous caring people that I want to be around? If their behavior is annoying....well...CHANGE yourself and change them. It's really exciting if you think about it. You have the power to CHANGE anything in your life that is bothering you ANYTHING...well other than genetics, but man you can have a huge influence over those things too.
Sometimes change comes as quick as a new idea. Most of the time change takes months...or years. We created a little monster in Mia. It has taken us years to undo the bad parenting we put into action with her. Three years of bad parenting, giving in, hushing up, has equaled three years of many tears and hard work undoing the mess we made. We see progress, but we are still in the depths of this really hard change. Is it worth the fight? Absolutely! We see little breakthroughs and it removes pounds of heartache we've felt with her. It's worth it now when she's little to save some pain when she is a teenager. It would be easy to just say "oh that's just Mia", but NO her bad behavior is our fault, our mistakes. If I was to find her annoying, or we didn't want her to be around, what message would I be sending to her? Not good! Unfortunately that is what I seem to be surrounded by in this world.
Our current generation that everyone is complaining about is the way they are because of the mistakes of their parents. I don't want to be included in that list. I will not sit and wallow in the mess I helped create. I will not! I will do everything I can do to fix my mistakes, and trust me there are many. But I think if we look at those mistakes with a different perspective, a different hope, we will have a different outcome than others.
So do me a favor, please don't sit around and complain to your friends this summer about how annoying your kids are. Don't get annoyed. Use this summer as an opportunity to spend one on one time with them to see what they need and what you can do to make them the type of people you would want to be around. And finally, FOR HEAVENS SAKE....play with your kids, teach your kids, paint with them, eat with them, create with them, clean with them, talk with them, and pray with them. You will learn so much about what they need from you, and I promise they will be much less annoying.
Parents often talk about the younger generation as if they didn't have anything to do with it. ~Haim Ginot