THAT kid . . . Today and Tomorrow
I was reminded yesterday that I have that kid. Sometimes, that child of mine has a rough day. It happened, yesterday. We’ve had a great three week run of good days and good behavior at school. But not yesterday. Yesterday, I got the look from the teacher and the “he had a hard day talk” followed by “the list” of his actions. And then the grand finale, “You know there are about two or three other children that like to do exactly what he does, so when he misbehaves so do the others.”
This child of mine with the extremely strong will, the one who tells me to go ahead and give him his punishment because he is going to do what he wants no matter the cost is funny and he is cute and he is smart and he is a natural leader. Yet, he tests me constantly and I’ve had to learn who he is isn’t about me. I’ve had to let go of the dream of being the perfect mom and having perfect children.
Sometimes in this mom world we can be excruciatingly judgemental of other moms and their children. We play the game of comparison and we define our worth and abilities as moms by these comparisons. At some point, most of us will have that kid (or several of those kids) who beats us down because they refuse to play our comparison game. We will have to decide if we are going to let our children define us or will we help this child grow and mature in the way God created him (or her)? As a mom, I must worry less about what others think of me and my parenting skills and I must look down the road twenty years and decide what my child needs now to be a responsible adult then.
Yesterday, I walked away only the slightest bit embarrassed . . . this time. But, I also walked away knowing this is my son. This is how he was created and I want to help him grow and make his personality his strength not his weakness. He is a child and is not always going to know how to act. He is going to misbehave because sometimes its fun and sometimes he has an audience. And he is learning that he has influence. My hope and prayer is that as he grows, we use these instances not to try and change who he is because of how it might reflect on us but to remember our job as parents is to train him to be an adult that functions on his own. I want to take my son’s personality and show him how to grow in it, how to be a leader who makes a positive influence. I have to look ahead and think about what successes and failures he needs in his life to be a strong leader as a teenager, a college student, and an adult. He will fail, more than I’d prefer but I want him to fail young so that his failings are less when he is grown.
Instead of worrying about my reputation, I tell him how others like to be around him. I tell him he can help his class and his teachers by listening and acting right. I train him to use his powers for good and not evil (because he’s a boy and understands superheroes). And I pray. I pray that at a young age he will come to know Jesus as his Savior. I pray that he will let the Holy Spirit direct his life and that this strong personality and this quality in him will be used to make a difference for our God. Instead of being embarrassed about how his behavior reflects on me, I enjoy who he is and I’m ever mindful of the task I have of loving how God created him and training him to grow in “wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52)