For My Mom
This post is for my mom…my number one fan. (aren’t mom’s great?) I hope my other four readers will enjoy it too!
Since I’ve mentioned my perfectionism and control issues, you may suspect I experienced a rigid upbringing…but you would be wrong!
My mom and I clashed a lot when I was a kid because I did not think she was strict enough, neat enough, or organized enough!
You know what she thought? That I needed to RELAX! We had such a backward relationship. My dad was neat and organized, but he thought I needed to relax too.
They did their best, but if you think about it…how do you “lay down the law” and insist your child loosen up? Do you discipline them for keeping a clean room and getting A’s in school? Do you lock them out of the house until they do something fun? I don’t know…it’s a tricky problem.
When I was upset by something like my family making me late, my mom would say in her sing-song voice, “Oh well, it’s not the end of the world.” I would growl at her that I did not like being late. “Mom, not everything has to be the end of the world for it to be important! There are things that would be seriously bad even if it did not cause the end of the world!”
She didn’t get my point, I didn’t get her point . . . but, they tried.
I would have to say my childhood was pretty close to idyllic. My parents were firm and loving, correcting and encouraging…they possessed that balance between discipline and understanding that I never mastered. I appreciate their teaching to follow God, not them. And, even though it took a LOOONNGG time to sink in, my mom’s carefree, people loving approach to life actually did have an impact on me. I think it was because of her that I eventually learned to let go of the less important things…
None of us are promised or deserve that idyllic childhood. When the Bible talks about parenting, there are principles about teaching, correcting, guiding, not exasperating . . . but it doesn’t really say parents should make sure kids have the same clothes and stuff as their peers, have good friendships, get the best education and be given every opportunity to succeed in life.
Providing those things is great, but not a measure of parenting success. Our list of what parents need to provide for their kids gets longer as the generations go by!
Growing up, our home was always full of music. If my mom was not playing the piano or teaching piano lessons, she was singing while she worked. Since I wanted my own home to resemble the one I grew up in, I was seriously concerned about my lack of piano skills!
Of course, my parents were not perfect. I could even make a list of things I think they did wrong! But, it’s a short list…and none of it critical. In letting go of the whole perfection thing, I came to accept that my mistakes were just a part of God’s plan for my kids. And we can’t control our own life circumstances that affect our kids (well, not entirely).
I do my best to make “the right” parenting choices, but the right thing is not always clear. I know I have, with the very best intentions, made some serious missteps . . . and that is okay. When I see my mistakes, I apologize and try to do better.
Instead of fretting that I am ruining the children, I have learned to pray for them and trust God’s will for their lives. . .easier said than done!