Children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children born in one's youth. Blessed are they whose quivers are full. They will never be shamed contending with foes at the gate. ~Psalm 127:3-5

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Setting Examples For Our Children

Yesterday, I watched “A Wedding Story” on t.v. as I rested and my children were down for a nap. I seem to have forgotten how taxing the day can become even by 11:30 in the morning when you’re pregnant. I wasn’t really watching for content, although it’s always nice to see two people who are truly in love get married. I really just wanted a taste of the feeling I get when I do witness this particular type of event, a mix between sadness and joy over my own beginning of life with my husband.
However, this is not what I sat down to write about.
When the girl was talking about how thrilled she was to have her father walk her down the aisle and how much it meant to her, she said she loved him for showing her how a man should love his wife. Today I am contemplative over this thought as I revisit what I must’ve felt yesterday but was too tired to explore and write about.
It makes me think about the concreteness of being a parent; the specifics by which we are to uphold our willingness to teach our children about every single aspect of life. Children learn from us first and foremost. Relationships are one of the biggest (and toughest) concepts to teach, as they are the hardest things to really understand and work out. I think about my son and how he will grow up and probably find a woman who reminds him of me. I think how scary that is, in that I am far from the ideal woman I’d like to see my son marrying. But at the same time, it makes me want to be a better person. It makes me want to be a better wife; and in turn it makes me be a better mother. I think of my daughter and how she will grow up and find a man who treats her the same way her dad treats me, and she will see the role I play as a wife and mimic that in her marriage. They both will soak up every ounce of relationship exampling we will give them over the years like thirsty sponges on the shoreline. How do we make sure we don’t leave them wanting?
I’m not sure Joe understands the concept of getting deep into the murky waters of parenting. He seems to have his waders on, pacing back and forth where the waterline reaches just below the top of them. I don’t think he quite gets that these children are ours to teach about life, to love unconditionally, to raise knowing the many faces of God and that we have to give a major effort to all of that. I think I’m a little further ahead, having jumped into the deep end the moment I decided my daughter was for keeps. But I am sometimes floundering and often wish I could retreat back to that safe spot where I can just put on my hot pink waders and a bathing suit top and just kind of mother my children between catching a tan and drinking a margarita! But I know that mothering unlimited is as for keeps as my daughter is. I can’t allow myself to take the easy road, busying my life with what I want to do and giving my children my time when I allow for it.

I can’t really blame my husband for being a little hesitant about wanting to go into the deep end with our kids. He didn’t have parents who did that. He learned from them that parenting was an option, not a priority. He doesn’t know any different. But I am amazed at how well he has adjusted to this concept, even if he doesn’t get it completely yet. I’m not even sure I get it completely yet, as I am still discovering new things each day that I don’t realize are my jobs as these children’s mom. So, Joe, have a big pat on the back from me because you are doing the best you can at the stage you’re in and I love you for it!
I think I am having a hard time because examples weren’t set for me in the best of ways either. It has taken me a long time to come to terms with this issue but at the same time, in doing so, I have come to realize that a lot of what I thought mattered when it came to the way my parents raised me, ultimately didn’t matter at all. And in fact, despite the feeling that the aspect of relationships wasn’t really a strong point in my parents’ teachings, I have discovered that I somehow knew the examples that were set were not right and came to the conclusion on my own that I didn’t want things to be that way with my relationships.
The subject of relationships is probably the hardest thing to teach out of anything our children can learn from us or in school. I can only pray that I am doing the absolute best that I can in setting good examples for my children. I think about how different my relationship with my husband is since we got married and how we are slowly coming to an understanding of the way we each work, the inner ticking of our hearts, and the differences that make us unique, the ones that build up our relationship instead of tear it down as we initially thought they would. We are desperately grasping at anything that will show us how to love each other better, respect each other more and trust each other in a way that shows us, our children and everyone else that we actually do love each other. Someone once told me that she can see the potential for a love between us that people will envy. I want my children to learn that kind of love between a husband and a wife and the only way I can make sure they do is by working hard at my relationship with my husband and keeping their best interest in sight as one of many motivators.
The love I have for my husband and my children will never be as great as the love God has for His world but I am going to try my hardest to get as close as I possibly can to that and make sure my children take at least that example from me.

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