“Mom! Have you seen my soccer jersey?” “Mom, I can’t find my blue sweater anywhere.” “Moooooom, I have to be at Solo and Ensemble in an hour and I think I left my trumpet in math class yesterday.” What are you going to do with them? Some days you want to run away to the mountains–alone–and some days you want to hug them until they squirm. It’s nice to be needed, even if it’s only for help in finding lost things, but I sometimes wonder if I’m getting through to them on the life skills things.
I survived raising three active kids and lived to tell about it. Now, I’m on round two with the littles and it’s all coming back to me, that craziness of car lines, soccer practice, and “where are your socks? Ok, where were you the last time you remember having them?”
Honest truth? I love it. I’ve always loved it. And I’m so glad I get to do it, even if I do pay a high price in burned out brain cells due to sleep deprivation. No matter how “exhaustify”-ingly crazy it makes me sometimes, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Many days in the blur of the trenches of round one, I said to myself, “Enjoy every minute. Savor it all. You’re gonna miss this one day.” Turns out, that’s true, even the finding of lost things.
I remember reading in a James Dobson book about a thing called ‘childish irresponsibility.’ Dr. Dobson explained that children aren’t mentally mature and experienced enough to fully comprehend the consequences of all their actions. So, when they do things like pulling Dad’s best leather belt off the rack and trimming it down to wear with their jeans, they aren’t deliberately being selfish, just irresponsible, and while there should be consequences, they should be reasonable and administered with firmness and a good conversation afterwards, not shouting and being grounded until they’re thirty. (Sharing for a friend. Yeah, I’ll probably remember the incredulous look in my Dad’s eyes until I die.)
There were many of these kinds of moments raising our kids and I’m sure there will be many more with the littles, but here on round two, I can see that lessons learned on the first go-round give me a better perspective on what’s really important and what’s not. Losing things is part of learning to organize, learning to keep up with stuff, and each kid goes through the phase differently, though the middle school phase for boys is notorious. Just sayin’. We can offer suggestions on keeping up with stuff and finding lost things, but ultimately, they have to figure out what works for them and then do it consistently.
I enjoyed being the one the kids turned to in finding lost things, but sometimes it was a frantic experience. I think the important factor was that I tried not to panic. I tried to stay cool and help them reason through possible locations and we were usually successful. Being calm helped that happen.
I read somewhere that Moms are the ones who set the atmosphere in the home. Thermometers, as you know, reflect the temperature, while thermostats influence it. I decided that as a mom, I wanted to be a thermostat. I wanted to influence a calm caring atmosphere in our home. I also wanted to encourage our kids to become the kind of people who are thermostats, influencing the atmosphere around them to be calm and caring. It seems more and more too many people have lost the things that lead toward this, the things that matter most. To this effect we still have some ground rules in our house, things that are expected of all of us.
- Manners-Treat others like you want to be treated, with genuine courtesy, no matter how they treat you.
- Respect-All people, regardless of their differences are to be treated with respect. That does not mean you have to agree with them, it doesn’t mean everyone is right, it simply means treat them well regardless.
- Honor and obey your parents-This one’s a frightening responsibility for us as parents. Little ones have to learn to obey without question when there’s danger, but as they grow, we have to teach them to discern when to obey, when to challenge, and how to act in the process. See above.
- Have compassion-We are a family. Care about each other. Help each other. Support each other. Then, reach out and care about those around you. We tried to actively do these things as a family and encouraged our kids to do so on their own as they grew older.
- Have a sense of humor-Don’t take yourself too seriously. Be able to laugh at yourself and your mistakes, then learn from them. Strive hard to do your best but realize you won’t always be the best. Do your best at whatever you attempt, if you win, do so with grace, if you lose, congratulate the winners and hold your head up because you gave it your best shot.
- It’s okay to cry-Sometimes it just hurts. Be brave and power through when you need to, but tears are healing and nothing to be ashamed of, so have a good cry and then get back in there and try again.
- Be grateful-Of all the goals I have for my kids even as adults, this is one of the highest. I want them to realize that everything we have is a gift, to understand that every ability they have is a gift–never be taken for granted–air, water, food, life, all are gifts, the list is endless. Every moment we are given is another chance to deepen the relationships in our lives, to help someone to their feet, to love others. Most of all, I want them to realize that we cannot have joy in any of our gifts unless we acknowledge the Giver of them all.
“The soccer jersey is in the laundry basket! The sweater’s in your top dresser drawer! Call your teacher. If she’ll speak to you, apologize for calling so early and offer to do her errands or cut her yard or something. Then, if she agrees to meet you, we’ll go by the school on our way to the auditorium. By the way, where’s your jacket?”
Finding lost things? That’s my specialty!
Happy Fall Y’all!