Tuesday, March 23, 2010

We Can't Take Credit

When Caleb goes to AWANA's on Wednesday nights, once a month he will go to the AWANA Store to pick out something, paying for it with the "bucks" he's earned by attending each week (wearing his vest, reciting his verse, bringing his bible, etc). It makes my heart smile each time he comes home and says, "I picked this out for Gabriel, Mom!" or "I found this for Sarah!"

Every time he will get something for his brother and sister. Every time.

The first few times he did this, I thought to myself, "Where did he learn to be so thoughtful?" I know we as parents like to take credit for absolutely everything. We tend to pat ourselves on the back for all accomplishments including if our children are thoughtful or humble - I guess they don't learn humbleness from us if we are boastful about them, huh? :o)

For some reason I've been thinking lately about how we tend to take credit for their own personalities. Got an easy-going child? Got a thoughtful child? Got a gentle-natured child? Or a humble one? Maybe most if not all of those traits are just their traits. I'm not saying we have nothing to do with that (genetics you know...ha!) but I guess I'm just going to start trying to let go of the idea that it's all because of something I did. Because too often I think parents are proud of their child...not necessarily because of something the child did...but because they are proud of themselves because they think they had everything to do with it.

What about parents who have strong-willed or...let's be honest...a more difficult child? Should they feel horrible and think it's something they did wrong? I really don't think so. I just think it's a personality trait. Yes, I think being difficult can be a trait. I believe as parents we must somehow redirect that type of trait so that it doesn't grow. Likewise, if a child is thoughtful, we should nurture that trait and hope it does grow!

I love Caleb's thoughtful trait. I cannot take credit for it, it's just his. And I will do my best to nurture it. Because it's a wonderful trait to have.

5 comments:

Tina said...
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Tina said...

ok - I would like to "redo" my comment after reading your post again.
I believe you are right - some traits are just traits children are born with. And I think I skipped over a paragraph when I was reading.
Because I believe parents do have to redirect or nurture a child's traits.
And I agree we should not be proud of a child just for "our accomplishment as a parent" we should be proud of them for the conscious decisions they are making. The decisions to make good choices.
But I also think it is ok to rejoice in the accomplishments you have made as a parent.
For example (I know this isn't true) But if Caleb had been a very self-centered child, only thinking of himself and not being good at sharing, then he came home with a present for his sister or brother - I think you should be proud of him. Praise him. And acknowledge his thoughtfulness.
But then after he is in bed- I think it is ok - for you to be proud of yourself too - because something you did... finally go through to him. You should be proud of your accomplishments too.

Amy said...

I think you are really right! I have been thinking this a lot myself. Our daughter potty trained pretty early and she never has accidents etc. When people are like WOW! That's so amazing! I'm like, "Thank you but I had nothing to do with it" I mean, I provided her with everything I should as a parent, examples, a potty chair just for her, positive reinforcement etc. But when it came down to it, she did it all by herself. She decided she was ready and just started going and telling me.

It also really irks me because as a baby she was VERY "high needs" I like to call it. She cried A LOT and only wanted ME to hold her. If ANYONE else tried to pick her up and I mean from the day she was born she would SCREAM. And not your typical little baby cry, but FREAK out kinda scream and the second I picked her up she'd stop. Because of that I would let others hold her, but after a few minutes I'd get so tired of hearing my child scream I'd just take her back.

A few other family members have had babies and both have been wayyyy laid back babies. The kind that sit in their swings for hours and don't make a peep. The kind that just fall asleep when you lay them in their cribs. and of course they didn't cry when others held them, and (my mother in law in particular) would be like, "Oh it's because (the mom) would just pass them around. Since everyone has been holding them they are just SO used to it and laid back." Implying that it was my fault that our daughter was so stranger shy and high maintenance. I want to be like "NOOOO!!!! It's BECAUSE the baby is so laid back that everyone holds them, not the other way around!!!!"

Tiffany said...

This was so great for me to read!! Thank you.

Nel Lenae said...

Tina - I agree!
Amy - I know what you mean... and I really know because my 2 girls were night and day! I had the screaming, mommy baby... and I had the perfect pass around, lay her down to fall asleep baby too! So I agree - not you, just her personality!
Chrissy - I think it's great that Caleb has picked out things for his sister and brother :o)

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