Tuesday, December 13, 2011
I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed the other day, and I came across the following post, from one friend to another friend:
"Every mother likes to hear positive, encouraging things about their kids. Thank you for taking the time to notice the good things my kids do and for sharing them with me."
That post was to my friend Laura, pictured above. Can you spot her? She doesn't like to have her picture taken, but she had taken a chunk of time out of her day to run around Campbell County with my daughter in order to help her with a photography project she was working on for the library.
Did you notice that the last two paragraphs I wrote about Laura were that she was supportive and encouraging to other people's children? It struck me as I read that comment to Laura in my newsfeed that this was not the first time I'd read something like that, written to her. Another friend of mine often thanks Laura for noticing the good things her kids do and sharing them with her, too.
For Laura, this is a trend. I wrote yesterday about how I am a fan of my own children. But they do have other fans. Laura is one of them.
Mothers, especially mothers of children who have a 'bad kid' reputation, only hear bad things about our kids. We hear it when they disobey their Sunday School teachers. We get called in for a conference when they don't do their classwork at school. We hear about it if they hit or bite or don't share in the nursery or day care. We are inundated with negativity.
I've gotten my share of negativity when it comes to my children. So has Laura. Sometimes I get bitter about it. Maybe, sometimes, she does, too.
See, we both have these boys. I have one and she has two, and they are boys who have been raised to be themselves and not worry too much about what others think of them. All three of these boys think for themselves and do what they think is best. I don't know if you have a boy like that, but Laura and I know that the kind of boys we have are the kind that make a mom earn her parenting badge. They aren't followers, they aren't fakers, and they don't blindly obey their parents or authority figures. They question, they argue, they make people mad, they decide for themselves. A lot of prayer and faith foundation goes into raising a boy like that, but when it's done they are the best boys to have.
Laura is almost finished raising her boys, they are both grown, technically adults and almost men. (They'll love me for that 'almost' haha!) They are both great. They are smart, resourceful, and helpful. She and her husband have done a great job. But I know she faced a lot of negativity from other people during the raising. She has decided not to do that to the children and mothers she comes into contact with.
Laura is a teacher, she teaches in regular school all week and Sunday school on the weekends. Laura is with children a lot! She sees their potential, she encourages them, she pushes them to do their best, and she sees the good in them. Even the 'disrespectful' ones, even the 'disobedient' ones, even the (dare I say it?) 'BAD' ones ! Because Laura knows that children are NOT YET WHO THEY ARE GOING TO BE! Everything that happens to them, everyone who comes into contact with them, every experience and circumstance and interaction is molding them, shaping them, helping them along the path of this hard life.
Oh, beautiful moms, I hope you have a Laura in your life...if you don't have THE Laura herself. Because we need another person to see the good in our children, to join us in our children's fan club. It is such an encouragement to any mom to have someone else join that club.
If you don't have a Laura, don't fret. I don't know that Laura ever had a 'Laura' herself. I don't know that she had anyone come alongside her and tell her how fabulous her boys were while she was raising them. She still raised them, and they are still fabulous. If you don't have a Laura, BE a Laura.
Our Laura is an encouragement to us, she loves our children, and she is beautiful.
Posted by Ruth Ronk at 10:30 AM
Monday, December 12, 2011
I am my kids' biggest fan. I think they are awesome, smart, funny, and practically perfect. If I even perceive a slight against either of them, even if it is deserved, I will defend them. I don't kid myself that they will always do the right thing, they haven't deceived or brainwashed me, but they know that anything they do wrong will be discussed, worked out, and forgiven.
Things haven't always been this way for us. I've had some learning to do about parenting. I have NOT always done everything perfectly, and I'm under no assumption that the way I parent my teens now is perfect, either! It's just the way I do it. I've learned that the world is tough enough, home should be easy.
I used to parent differently. My son, when he was younger, was what you might call a bad kid. I would apologize for him constantly. I wanted to make sure people knew that I knew he was acting up, 'being bad', and that I was dealing with it because I wanted them to think I was a good parent. My son grew quite a reputation for being a bad kid, and I was the poor, pitiful mom who had to deal with him.
I remember the day I made a conscious decision NOT to berate my son to other people and not to punish him in public. I stopped wondering why he was so BAD, and decided that he was actually a GOOD kid. And then I decided to stop caring about what others thought of me as a parent. Those two decisions made all the difference. Was he actually such a terror as I remember? I don't know, because when I decided he was good, the bad faded considerably.
Ask me about my son now, and I'll tell you how funny, smart, and fabulous he is. And then I'll tell you how talented, clever, and compassionate my daughter is. And then I'll make you really sick by telling you how practically perfect they BOTH are.
Do some other moms think it's annoying that I think my kids are wonderful and can do no wrong? Yep, they do. Do I think it's annoying that they DON'T think the same about their own kids? Yep, I do.
The world will try to bring your kids down. Magazines might tell your daughters they aren't beautiful. Teachers might tell your sons they aren't smart. Television will almost always tell your children they are dorks. 'Friends' sometimes tell them they are losers or spread gossip about them. Even churches sometimes tell our kids that they aren't good enough.
It's hard being a kid, a kid of any age. And it's hard being that kid's mom when life is beating the kid down. I want to be sanctuary for my kids, a safe haven. I don't always measure up, but I try, because they are #1 to me, and they are beautiful.
Photo credits: Faith Perry
Posted by Ruth Ronk at 11:45 AM