The other day my mom called to tell me that Bryan and I were doing a great job raising our boys. She had them that day and something set her off to tell us that. I thought it was a great compliment coming from my mom who I am sure is a fan of mine either way. I told her that I had good examples to learn from. She did get on to me for telling my kids not to ask her for anything. I understand that grandparents are suppose to spoil their grand kids and love on them constantly. But I told my mom that she wouldn't be complimenting my kids behavior if we weren't constantly on them. We both laughed and agreed. My parents were strict and at the time I did not understand it. But it was those boundaries that kept me from totally falling off the deep end. Was I perfect? Well of course not! And none of my friends need to share stories proving that I am not. But I can honestly say that this parenting thing isn't easy. Sometimes I feel like a complete failure and then other days I feel like I barely survived another day.
I am absolutely enjoying the age my kids are at now. Recently, Bryan and I were in a restaurant next to a couple who had a toddler and an infant. The parents were having to eat in shifts because the baby was very fussy. It did not bother us at all because we have been there. Fortunately, we are past the bottles, potty training and temper tantrum stages. They know how to use a spoon and fork and drink in a real glass without a lid. They don't need me to carry them anymore. They wipe their own behinds. They may mutter things under their breath that I can't hear, but they don't throw themselves on the floor and wiggle around like a slimy fish. We are on the verge of the teenage years so I may be writing my blog from a totally different perspective in another few months. Lord willing, I will still like my kids ages in another couple of years especially as one is entering Middle School. All I can say regarding that is to be continued...
Growing up in a very self serving society, it can be difficult to teach kids to be givers and to think of others first. We have worked very hard to give our kids all that they need and want. There is a fine line on giving them those things without them developing a spoiled attitude. We have encouraged them to save money and buy things on their own. That is how my oldest bought his Ipad and he has taken very good care of it. Now there has been the time when little brother can't use it and we have to remind older brother that if he won't let his brother use "his" Ipad then he can't use "our" electricity to charge it. I think we proved our point. We have tried to show them how important is to give. Bo is my giver. He is always making pictures for people. He is the one who wants to buy his teachers expensive gifts and is always saying sweet things. Christian has a sweet spirit but tends to be introverted when it comes to this. But Christian will have moments in his giving that will make your heart melt. I also try to explain to my kids the importance of humility. They both do well in many areas, but let's face it, none of us like braggers. So how do you teach that? Well you explain to them the difference between being confident and being cocky. We also tell them how when you are arrogant, you have to remember there is always someone out there who is bigger, better, faster and stronger than you who will shove that arrogance right back in your face. My oldest has always been very humble. Someone will compliment him after a game and he just shrugs it off like it is no big deal. But he has also had moments where he was over confident and got his butt handed to him by someone shorter and faster with equal or less skill. It is amazing how two kids raised in the same household can be so different. And it so great to see how much of yourself you can see in them. I say all the time that I fall in love with Bryan more everyday when I see the glimpses of his spirit in each one of my boys.
There are daily challenges with children. Loving them is easy but raising them is tough. I have often found myself in situations of not knowing what is the right thing to do or the right thing to say to them. This weekend was a perfect example. Christian has been complaining of his back hurting for a few weeks now. Both Bryan and I decided it was just a muscle and even took him to a chiropractor friend of ours. He gave us some exercises and stretches to do with our rapidly growing boy. After weeks of stretching, we headed to the National Primetime Tournament in Dallas. After our second game to play I was highly frustrated with Christian because I felt like he was just complaining and whining about a simple back pain. It was one of those moments when I gave him the "suck it up" and "your team needs you" speech. I felt I had the upper-hand at that moment and was sure I had broken him and he was given new revelation. But a day later while helping him stretch he could barely lift his leg and his eyes began to water as we continued his stretches. Talk about feeling like mom of the year. I realized my son was in pain. As he walked to the restroom, I began to cry and ask for some heavenly wisdom. It is in those moments that you would do anything to have God speak audibly to you regarding your kids welfare. I called in another favor for some advice from my chiropractor friend and he told me things to do. He said he could play and then he would see him soon. We iced him up, stretched him and let him play because he wanted to. But before we left that room, Bryan and I did what we know how to do as parents. We laid hands on him and prayed. I will tell you that I am not a great parent but I am one feisty prayer warrior when it comes to my kids. I refuse to let an enemy take away the gifts and talents that the Lord has blessed my boy with. I knew Christian heard the tears in my voice. At that time and place, my tears were saying, son I love you, believe in you and nothing is going to hurt you because you're God's child. He played his game and played great and I was so thankful. God is good and when I don't know what to do, I know that I can always pray.
I do feel honored to say that we teach our kids to pray. Our kids know that our house will serve the Lord. They know that we give God all the glory for the blessings in our life. I think the best way to show them the love of the Lord and for the Lord is by example. We pray every night with our kids. We lay hands on them and we pray for other people's needs. I know they listen because when I am tired or sick, Bo will tuck me in and put his hand on me and pray. They both come home with people who they think we should pray for. We had a neighbor who was going through an illness and Christian took that need to his Sunday school teacher at the time. This is how I know that my kids listen. They know that God answers prayer. I don't know if they pray on their own when they aren't with us but I believe good seed is planted in them and the good Lord will follow them all of their days.
You may not agree with all of my parenting skills. I know that I have so many things to learn. But I know that God chose me to be the mom of these two boys. And I know that Bryan and I through the Lord's guidance will figure this parenting thing out. I will make the wrong choice and my kids will make mistakes. But I will trust the Lord to guide my steps and give me wisdom when I need it. I will count on His grace and mercy to follow my boys wherever they go. Like your children, I know my boys have purpose. They will do greater things than Bryan and I have ever done. I trust in their character and I am confident in the one who holds the key to their future. You may not be a perfect parent but remember you were chosen. Believe in your kids and speak great things about who they are and what they will become. They are a reflection of you just as you are a reflection of the Father. Guide them, teach them, discipline them, pray with them. The same hands I have disciplined with, I have also prayed with. Most of all, love them as the Lord loves you. Always remember, we are in this together. My dear friends and family, I am praying for all of you and your children.