Thursday, February 10, 2011
One morning last week I was in my room getting ready when all of a sudden I heard a crash, then heard my son completely burst into tears. As I immediately dashed to see what was wrong, I ended up meeting him halfway because he was running to me saying, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to. It was your favorite, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to" through his sobs.
I scooped him up in my arms and went so see what in the world he was talking about. I found that he had been playing with a tennis ball and broken a little red bird I had purchased for $5.95 this winter. He was so sorrowful about what he had done, and continuously apologetic. I guess he thought it was my "favorite" because he kept repeating that as well. I felt compassion for him because of his little broken spirit, and knew I had a choice to make: I could either reinforce in him that though he needs to be careful, I understand that accidents happen and I love him even when he makes a mistake; or I could get angry and speak harsh words to make him feel even worse about his accident.
I chose the first. I held him while he cried, and soothed and reassured him that it was okay, I knew it was an accident. Yes, I reminded him about playing with balls in the house and being careful, but I focused much more on building his spirit back up and letting him know my love is secure, even when he messes up. Because that's how God the Father loves me, and I want to love my own children in the same unconditional manner.
The thing is, I know there have been lots of "broken birds" in our home over the past nearly six years of having children. Actually, that little red bird was sort of a replacement for another bird Trevor had already broken a year ago! My dad teasingly calls Trev a "one man wrecking crew" because, bless his heart, sometimes it seems everything he touches he breaks! He never means to; sometimes he is playing with a ball inside or being a little rough, but usually they are just plain accidents. He has broken my Willow Tree figurines, Pilgrims and Indians, two panes of glass on my curio cabinet, and more.
There have also been countless times when Jimmy and I have had to discipline our children for different issues of personal and spiritual brokenness...selfishness, not sharing, disobedience, temper tantrums, and occasionally willful defiance. Disciplining is a vital, but not fun part of parenting. And every time we discipline, we also have that same choice to do it in a way that reinforces our unconditional love, building up their spirit while trying to train them in the way they should go and nurture their heart to desire a life of obedience; or we can choose to just simply react to the situation with a harsh, angry spirit and words spoken too quickly.
There are times we have made the right choice; other times we have fallen short.
Parenting is hard work. Some days are incredibly challenging We all miss the mark at times and crawl into bed at the end of the day feeling like absolute failures. And then we have some days where things are absolutely wonderful, sweet, and harmonious. We all mishandle certain situations and have to ask both God and our kids for forgiveness, and then we handle some situations beautifully in a Christlike, grace-filled way.
I don't know about you, but I am just a girl who is now a mom just trying to do my best, a girl who falls short at times but is who trying to make good choices as a parent. Who is trying to nurture a heart of godliness. Who is trying to explain and model that our choices have consequences. Who is trying to break wills but build up spirits.
And who wants my kids to know their hearts and lives matter so much more to me than broken birds.
Hang in there moms and dads. Keep on keeping on,
James 1:19 "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."
Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."