Sunday, September 18, 2016

"When I Was..." and other Parenting Fails

This afternoon I turned into THAT mom. 

Actually two days in a row made me feel like THAT mom. 

Yesterday I turned around and told Caleb and his girlfriend that "the younger generation didn't know how to effectively communicate..."

And today I found myself saying, "When I was in 7th grade..."

(Yes.  I.  Did.  And I also walked 10 miles uphill both ways in the snow to get to school.  Y'all!!! Where did that even come from???)

And as I made that statement, I immediately realized that when I was in 7th or 8th grade, I WOULD HAVE REACTED IN THE SAME WAY THAT CALEB DID.

Anyway, I've really been thinking a lot about parenting lately. I've been seeing posts on the internet about helicopter parents and how we let our kids by with way too much. I shared a post on facebook about uncoachable kids which led to a debate between some members of my family, and the conversation inevitably turned to parenting, and how often the parents may be more of the problem than the player.

I may or may not have been guilty of making the comment, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

It's just true. We behave how we see others behave...

which is why I'm kind of glad Caleb doesn't sit with me at most football games.

He'd be getting flags right and left for back-talking refs because "CAN'T YOU SEE THAT WAS A HORSECOLLAR???" and " IF I KNOW IT''S HOLDING IT'S PRETTY DAGGONE OBVIOUS!"
and also, "YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING ME" more times than I can count.

And here's the thing. It's a fine line that parents have to tight-walk. We want our kids to be instilled with confidence, and to us, they are the absolute best at everything they do... except they aren't.

I would have loved to have been an Olympic gymnast, but there was one problem.

I couldn't hardly do a round-off.  I always landed kind of sideways.

I want Caleb to be involved in a lot of things, and I encourage him to pursue whatever activities interest him, and I may occasionally encourage him to pursue things that he isn't really interested in.

But like I told him the other night, I know he won't be THE BEST at everything he does, and that's ok.

I know I sound like a parent making excuses, but sometimes you learn more from NOT being the best. In fact, I'd almost wager that you ALWAYS learn more when you aren't the best, because you're having to work that much  harder.

But y'all.  Letting our kids fail is hard.

Sometimes I feel heartless.

A lot of times I make excuses for why I need to jump in there and save Caleb.

And a lot of times we end up yelling at each other because THE APPLE DOESN'T FALL FAR FROM THE TREE and THE FAMILY TREE HIT HIM IN THE HEAD  and SCREAMING IS MY MODE OF COMMUNICATION (note the capital letters used for emphasis.)

How can we support our kids and give them confidence when they are falling on their face?

Maybe by love.

Acceptance when they fall.

And for Heaven's sake, stop the screaming.

I'm no perfect parent, y'all.  Caleb may or may not have worn dirty socks to football practice last week (although I did pick them up and sniff them and they didn't smell too bad, so they were probably clean, right?) and as I attested earlier, I did point out the flaws of his generation while making my generation seem like we have it together.

Except I'm pretty sure Caleb knows we don't.

And that part about how kids learn what they see?

Well, maybe that's how we teach them how to fail. By letting them see what big messes we are but also pointing them to grace...

by giving them grace. By giving others grace. Even referees deserve grace, y'all!! (And I'm not knocking refs. I wouldn't be one if you paid me a million dollars!)

And the best part?

His grace is sufficient... for any mess. For every mess. And it's sufficient to get me through these teenage years...

because He loves Caleb way more than I could ever imagine.

And He loves me that much, too.

So His grace is sufficient to help Caleb survive this hot mess of a Mama.

May he always know just how blessed I consider myself to be his mama...

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