Friday, June 22, 2012

Copycatting Mom ...

As my girls are becoming more independent and self-sufficient, I've noticed a disturbing trend. They are, more and more, patterning their grown-up behavior on my grown-up behavior. I've found myself wondering -- am I the kind of grown up that I want them to become? Of course, they never actually tell me that they're copying me, and I humor them by not pointing out their mimicry. At the same time, it's made me a bit more aware of my own words and actions.

It's a little overwhelming to think that not only do I need to teach these little ones, I need to be living what I teach in a visible manner. This isn't a new concept; it's something that I've always known and tried to do, but now I get regular reminders about why I need to do this. I find it interesting that as my children become more independent, they also become more dependent upon my example. Most of us have heard the saying that kids don't come with instruction manuals. Well, it seems that growing into adults requires a learning curve as well.

As I've confronted this responsibility, I've found it comforting to think that Heavenly Father knows my girls better than I know them. He loves them, and He sent them here to succeed. He also knows me, my weaknesses and my strengths, and He still felt that I was the best mom for my daughters. I guess my prayer is that I will be wise enough to lean on Him, to make certain that my words and actions don't hinder these girls' relationships with Him, and to be a little better each day. Maybe, with some divine help, my daughters' needs and my abilities will meet somewhere in the middle, and it will be enough ...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thou shalt be far from oppression for thou shalt not fear, and from terror for it shall not come near thee. ... No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall revile against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord. (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 22:14, 17 or Holy Bible, Isaiah 54:14, 17)
I've been in some tough places during the course of my life. In some of these places, oppression, fear, and terror were not unknown companions. It took some time and some doing, but I've seen the Lord's hand in my life leading me and my children to safe pastures. As one who has known these moments of terror, the promise of these verses is a shining ray of hope. It's a yardstick to gauge future judgments by.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to study my scriptures. There is a peace that comes from hearing the Lord's voice. I know that the scriptures are one of the ways that He speaks to us today. What a blessing it is to know that He's there, and that He cares enough to guide us in our lives!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

You know, I realized today that we have a lot to be grateful for. It's something I know all the time, but sometimes it's good to be reminded of just what that means. We have good friends, a home that meets our needs, plenty of food to eat, and lots of lovely time together.

We've had opportunities to be blessed by the kindness of others, and, thankfully, we've had some opportunities to help others around us too. We're not always perfect at it. (I have to admit that being aware of the needs of others around me and how I can help is not always something that comes naturally to me. It's not that I'm deliberately ignoring times that I can help; rather, I can just be a bit oblivious on occasion. I'm thankful for friends who love us anyway.)

There's a lot of good in this world, and so much of it has found us. I found a quote tonight that rather sums up how I'm feeling:

Our realization of what is most important in life goes hand in hand with gratitude for our blessings. ... "when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that's present -- love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature and personal pursuits that bring us [happiness] -- the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth." (President Thomas S. Monson speaking and quoting Sarah Ban Breathnach, "Finding Joy in the Journey," General Conference, Oct. 2008)
So many of you are our blessings, and it's in those blessings that we find our own glimpses of heaven.

Monday, June 11, 2012

"How did I not know this?!?"

The girls overheard a friend tell me and another friend tonight that she lost her baby. On our way home, L said, "So, mom ... I heard her tell you that her baby died." I explained to my daughters about miscarriages and a fairly brief synopsis of what they are. My girls reacted with instant sympathy and sorrow.

After agreeing with them, I explained that one of the blessings of Christ's Gospel is that we know that after this life, those women who live faithfully and who lost their little ones (such as this friend) will have the opportunity to raise those babies in the next life.

After a little more discussion, M looked at me and said, "How did I not know this?!?" That was followed almost instantly by her sister commenting, "Yeah, how did I not know this either?" I have to admit that I snickered a bit, but I found it fascinating that this little bit of doctrine was so important to my young daughters.

While I have not lost a child, there have been times when it seemed likely. I have had time to ponder this doctrine and decide if this belief is really my own. I believe that this opportunity to one day raise lost little ones is a gift and a blessing from a loving Heavenly Father who knows the ache of having to let go of treasured children for a time and even for eternity in some cases. In His infinite love and kindness, although He does at times allow us to taste of the sorrows, He gives us a glimmer of hope to dust off and pull out when the initial sorrow wanes.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Learning from Life's Mistakes

M (10) & L (8) were playing around in the bathroom and broke the blinds. (I'm talking snapped the plastic that makes it possible to attach them to the wall broken ... )

Earlier this week, the same behavior gave me a new hole behind the bathroom door. (No, they're not usually this destructive. I think it's a combination of growth spurts and preteen stuff ... I think the last time that they were capable of wreaking so much havoc was when they were toddlers.)

When both of these problems happened, I managed to refrain from yelling. With the first incident, I put myself in a five minute time out. I walked into my bedroom and shut my door. When the kids were asking why I wouldn't talk to them, I explained that if I spoke to them just then, I'd say things we'd all regret. Tonight, I went and sat on the front porch to think. Then I quietly boxed up all their Barbies and Barbie stuff.    (This is their current fave to play, so I figured that losing them for a while was a good start on a consequence.)

When M asked if I forgave them, I said yes, but explained that I'm not sure where the money to fix these things is going to come from, she looked at me and said sweetly, "God." I explained that He's given us a lot, and if we treat the things He's already given us poorly, we can't really ask Him to replace them. She looked horrified and said, "Well, don't crush my faith!!!"

After marching down the hall, she told her sister "Guess what? Mom's not having faith." Oh, my! Both girls marched out. L stomped up to me, threw her hands down dramatically, heaved a great sigh to make certain that I was aware of her distress, shook her head, and said,"Ugh! Mom, don't you remember all of those talks in church today? They were all about having faith! Why aren't you having faith in this?!?"

Both of my daughters proceeded to lecture me on faith, using a Zooble to illustrate their points. They squashed the Zooble shut and told me that was how they felt my faith was in this case -- totally shut down. After popping the Zooble open, they explained that the Zooble represented how they were choosing to have faith in this situation -- wide open and believing.

I'm not sure how to take their response. On the one hand, they were so disturbed by what they perceived as my lack of faith that it gives me hope for the example that I've set for them. After all, if a lack of faith was the norm, they'd hardly be shocked by seeing it now. On the other hand, you'd have thought that I just killed everything good in the world. Perhaps I could have handled that differently ...

In addition, each of my daughters chose (without any prompting from me) to write me apology letters.


dear mom, I am so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, infinaty so sorrys for the hole in the wall and for the blinds Love,

I so sorry :(

Dear Mom, I feel so sorry I didn't know that it would happen I'm really really sorry I feol really really bad do you forgive me? please sighn back when your done give it to me. I hope you still love me do you love me? Why aren't you having faith in this problem why? I feel like you love me but do you? I just hope you get it fixed really soon.


As I've been pondering these recent happenings, how best to handle them, and how to consequence my children in a manner that would fit the crime, and still allow me to feel like I was parenting in a manner that is pleasing to my God, I've had little glimmers of inspiration.

First, it's been interesting to see that when I explain the concern calmly and then leave them alone with their own thoughts, both my girls tend to consequence themselves. They tend to reason out what they've done and why, and I often hear them pinpointing exactly what the problem was. (Yup, they both tend to talk out loud to themselves in these situations ... I wonder where they get that from. Couldn't possibly be from me.)

Second, I've found that -- while the learning doesn't always mean the kids will have enough self-restraint to immediately let go of and never repeat the offending behavior -- the girls internalize a bit of that lesson. They're starting to move toward independence, and with that independence sometimes comes greater mistakes. At the same time, I'm seeing the lessons that they are learning with each new challenge. Each one gives them a little piece of the self-control to govern themselves and their behavior. While the stress that sometimes comes in these learning opportunities is sometimes aggravating, there is nothing better than watching them moving more and more into the amazing women that they will become.

Finally, I'm learning to remember that I didn't become who I am overnight. Some of my own weaknesses and poor judgments have taken years to overcome, and like everyone else, I'm still working on other things in my own life. While I can offer guidance, support, and discipline as needed, I have no right to expect instant perfection from my children either. They are getting better every day, but they are still going to make mistakes -- sometimes even big mistakes. If they can see that I love them and that God loves them and that they can be a little better each day, and if they can become more aware of the consequences that come -- whether or not we know what those consequences will be -- then it's enough ...