It's only fair after talking about the celebrations of childhood, that I share a post that is not about achievement, success, resources or advice. This is what I call one of my cathartic, just for me, wordy posts. The kind I convince myself no one reads so I can just process in words and move forward. To be honest, I'm struggling here. I've hit a point in parenting that's got me praying, seeking, searching, talking, hoping and crying for guidance. I read articles like this or this and many others searching for how to raise our boys to glorify God and want to be with Him for ever in Heaven.
God has graced me with two beautiful boys who are incredible. I have no doubts God will use my 3 year old for His great purposes. He has a strong will, persistence and don't take no for an answer personality. He's a leader, he's smart, he's creative and he views obstacles as challenges to overcome not a reason to change course or his mind. I love my son with everything God gives me in parenting. I know God equips me and my husband along the way. I've been at this impasse before from baby to toddler and now that's it's preschool to little boy, I'm lost again. It's not the first and it won't be the last transition with growing pains for our whole family. We do have a 20 month old too who I am sure will give me a run for my money with his smile, extroverted personality and charm that snares everyone around him.
I've asked moms ahead of me in this journey. I pray, I read my bible, I read parenting book after parenting book. I'm sorry to debunk the flowery sentiment but my love is not enough. Hear me out, before you shake your head. I am a selfish, broken sinner. Left to my own devices I raise my voice, I grit my teeth, I act spontaneously and re-actively. I doubt, I get insecure, I question.everything.
Every child is different. There is no systematic approach that works with every child. There is just the basic need for a Savior. There is the recognition of humbleness in the face of my child and to apologize when I fall short of the being calm, in control with faith, love and grace in responding to my child. It does not weaken my authority to admit I'm wrong. I've been a kid, I knew when my parents messed up. Me admitting it is just being honest and saying what we are both already thinking. In those moments I live out the scriptures that God is made perfect in my weakness. Because man, I. am.weak.
This isn't an all out pity party or seek of attention or passive aggressive reassurances. God gave me, like everyone else strengths, other experiences, other advice and ways to reach and comfort others. If this isn't yours, I ask for grace and to recall what yours are and treat mine with the same tenderness you'd want when you're feeling broken and helpless.
There are definite seasons of life- seasons of encouragement, joy, hope, celebration and also of discouragement, desperation and failure. Nights/ weeks/ months of interrupted sleep, days of disobedience and no naps. Minutes, hours, days of serious boot camp intense character training for both me as the parent and my children. Taking, pushing, yelling, screaming, temper tantrums, name calling, lying, rebellion, lack of cooperation, obedience. It's those moments when nothing seems to reach my child. Not tough love, not empathy, not boundaries, not the most recent parenting book approach ( love & logic, love languages, etc) It's just the commitment, loyalty, love and to the little person who you KNOW is inside there struggling too. I know my child. We spend every day together. He's capable of being sweet, caring, thoughtful, smart, resourceful, funny, playful and plain irresistible. He will ask "Are you happy, mommy?" if he hears my throat get choked up and my voice get soft because I'm trying not to cry. He has a tender hearted mommy, oh the irony. He's in there struggling alone. I feel like I don't know how to help him out of this. I am trying to walk him through these moments, to understand himself, God and the world around him and the wall is solid and heartbreaking.
I put my adult mommy boots on a trudge forward. I have a mission. I have boys to love. I have men to raise. This task is not for the weak, the lazy, the easy, comfortable. After 3 years of praying, crying, begging the Lord for a child, I have two amazing sons. I couldn't be more thankful. It was not an easy road to get here after two failed adoption attempts and a failed reproductive procedure. I pray constantly to be faithful to the calling of parenting. His light is for my path, each step. Not the entire walk way, not the future. Deep breath now step, trust, love, give. Fill myself up daily with the love of God.
There are just those seasons where adult life and parenting life are both a hard struggle. I pray to teach my children grace because it's the only way they'll ever understand Jesus. Also, because selfishly I KNOW I need it from them through out their life. Anyone can get children to obey through force, absolute authority and sternness. At my core, I believe there is a way that shows respect and love to my child in teaching, correcting and training.
Also if the majority of our interaction is just rules, correction and discipline, where is the relationship of family? If I have my guard up all day long looking for mistakes, where is the connection? There are many other nuances of communication necessary for a healthy functioning family like encouragement, listening, understanding, instruction, teaching and prayer as well as others. Warnings, rebukes and corrections are necessary especially in these younger years but they are not isolated or communicated with out love.