Category Archives: parenthood

Doing the Hard Things

It’s a hard balance knowing when to push your kids and when to back off and let them make their own decisions.  They are getting older.  The decisions are less about physical harm (you will get burned if you touch that stove!) to more emotional, social, and moral.  It’s especially hard when the consequences are painful but you know they need to learn from it.
This was the case a few weeks ago when Nelson was going through a rough patch with basketball.  He’d had a tough day of soccer, then basketball, and then fell on the ice.  He said his knee hurt, he limped, and he absolutely COULD NOT play in his game.  Though I do believe his knee was sore, I suspected there was a larger issue.  I thought he was nervous and just wanted to forget he had ever signed up.
My dad with Brynne on his lap…thank goodness.  Watching sports with my two little girls can be such a treat (not).
The big day came and Nelson came home from school.  Nope, leg was still lame, couldn’t play.  I had been thinking about it all day, had discussed it with Gregor, and decided that he should have to at least try.  There were tears, anger, “I can’t do it!”and mom and dad saying, “You just have to try.   You’re part of the team.  If you really can’t play then you can sit on the bench with your team.”
“I don’t WANT TOO!”
“Tough.  You’re going.”
I have to say that I’m a rather impatient person when it comes to illnesses or injuries.  It’s a weakness I’m working on.  
But I made him go.
Then I watched from the sidelines.
Was it the right decision?
Nelson was happy when I wrapped his leg with an Ace bandage.  It made him feel a little more secure and he got some attention from his teammates.

And then…he was off.

He played the whole game.  Afterwards, when we asked if his leg hurt, he shrugged and said, “a little.”

There are only six boys on Nelson’s team.  He is not the best player.  He is not the worst.  He does not practice on his own every second he can get, like some boys do.  He is small, is not overly aggressive, and he hates to lose.  He takes it very hard.
In this case, I think we made the right call.  We made him do something that was hard.  And it worked out.  I think it was good for him.  I want my kids to do hard things.  In fact I want a big sign in my kitchen saying, “We Do Hard Things.” 
But it won’t always be my decision.  I’m still not sure I have the right balance.  In high school my parents let me quit track.  To this day, it’s my biggest regret.  I threw away a lot of opportunity when it really mattered.  I failed in that decision, but I also learned from it.  I think it made me stronger, more resolute about the kind of person I wanted to be.
It’s hard, this parenting thing.
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Sunday Interviews and a New Sunbeam

Awhile ago I blogged about starting interviews with my kids.  Since they were babies I’ve had a notebook that I try to write in at least a couple times a year.  I used that notebook, and for each child wrote:  Physical, Spiritual, Mental, Emotional, and Social (though, what’s the difference between mental and emotional?) Largely inspired by Shawni‘s stories of her parents, The Eyres.  
Then, the 1st Sunday of January I asked each one separately to come into my closet (the one Paige slept in) by themselves and talk withe me.  I couldn’t believe how excited each of them was – the feeling special, singled out, one-on-one time with mom?  Brynne was hopping up and down waiting her turn.  It was so funny at how different their responses were.  “Fine.” “Fine.” “Fine” versus full paragraphs. (Hmmm…boys vs. girls). 
My goal:  Do this once a month.  1st Sunday of the month is good.  Must not be a slacker.  It’s very interesting what you find out about your children when you actually sit down and no one can escape and there are no other distractions.  I wasn’t running around saying “uh-huh, uh-huh” and not really listening.  

More exciting news is that Paige became a “Sunbeam!”  Yea!  Sob!  At church, when kids turn 18 months old they go to nursery.  When they turn 3 they get to go to primary (for all the kids 3-11) but it starts every January.  So, this January our baby Paige started a new chapter in her life.  Now, all of my kids are in primary with me!  If we could only get Gregor teaching primary too…but he’s with those old men.  As you can see, Paige was feeling a little shy about the whole thing.
But by the end of church?

We had a very happy sunbeam! (I would not have put this picture of myself but Paige’s face was so funny).

She has cried a few times sitting on her chair while I’m running around getting things organized and trying to conduct, but we’re all adjusting.  Her teachers are just fabulous – I am thankful!  They always say, “Go away, she’s much better without you.” I suppose we are all constantly adjusting. 
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