Two of my good friends wrote great posts recently about the challenges of parenting. Both posts dealt with the fear that the way our children act now will carry over into adulthood. It is interesting, their timing with these posts, because it is something I have been pondering a great deal lately.
My children can be selfish, they fight, they don’t make the best choices all the time, sometimes they have an attitude of entitlement. They are children. On the other hand, they can also be very giving, kind, compassionate and loving. They aren’t all good all the time and they certainly aren’t all bad all the time. They are like me (and I suspect you), a little of both.
It is easy as parents to look at our little people and fear for their future. It is easy for me to see Seth and his lack of compassion for those around him and worry that he will never have compassion for those who are hurting. It is easy for me to see Amelia and her overly emotional responses to situations and assume that she will be the emo/goth chick in high school. The assumptions about our children are easy to make. Sometimes it feels as if once they reach grade school, there is nothing more we can do to mold and shape them.
But that is not true. There is SO much we can still do. I know my children watch me. I know they listen to me. I know this because I see every bad thing I do mirrored right back at me. This hurts, kills me really. I hate to see them showing me the worst parts of myself. And maybe that is why as parents, we get so upset at the way our children act. When they act selfish, entitled, uncompassionate…is it because they see it in us?
On the flip side, look at all the good they do. Look at them laughing, singing, playing with their friends or siblings. Watch them when they are kind, loving and compassionate. Where do they get that from?
We do so much good with them, we try so hard, and we still have much we can accomplish. I have watched my siblings raise their children, and I know that the way my kids act right now is not the end all be all. I know they will continue to change and grow in maturity and love.
So Moms? Give yourself a break, pat yourself on the back and remember you are doing just fine. Love your babies and give yourself the same credit you would give another Mom. We need to extend ourselves the same amount of grace that we give our children.
*the hyperlinks were messing up – so, here are links to the posts written by my friends.