Monday, September 30, 2013

The (un)Perfect Child

Recently, it seems that I have seen a flood of posts about kids and parenting.  Specifically, if your kid does something horrible - if they are bratty or have the nerve to call another child a name - you must be an awful parent.  You must be aloof and not ever go over how to treat others and you must be just a jerk to others yourself.  I mean, where else would they pick up that kind of behavior?

 Now I understand the sentiment of such posts.  As parents, we are to guide our kiddos to be the best little people they can be.  We should teach them manners and kindness to others.  We should demonstrate this in our own lives, and we should be always on top of this so that our child would never be THAT child who does something uncouth.

After all, who can argue with Proverbs 22:6?  "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

There you go. Plain and simple.  We are to train.  So that must mean it's our fault!

Except...I don't see it that way.  Not at all.

If you look at that verse, it says, "...and when he is OLD, he will not depart from it."


Do we all realize that our children are in constant training?  It doesn't say, "And if you train them, they will be perfectly behaved at age 7."  Nope.  That's not it.  Unfortunately, our natural tendencies as children can sometimes be unkind.  I don't understand it, I wish that wasn't the case, but it is. 

Adults can have these tendencies as well.

I think my kids are great.  I love watching them play together, and I especially love seeing them play with other kids to see how they interact.  Sometimes I will drive by the playground when I know Sarah (my 1st grader) is out there (when I am running early for Gabriel's preschool drop off).  I would love to think my child would NEVER call another child a name.  I go over this with them constantly.  Every morning before Caleb (3rd grade) and Sarah leave for school, I say, "Have a great day, and be kind to others!"  I feel that my husband and I demonstrate this to them.  We do not talk about people unkindly in general, but especially not in front of our kids. could happen.  They could say something to another child that could be hurtful or unkind.  And if it does happen, I honestly hope that the parent of that child comes to me with respect and kindness and we could work together to fix it.

I suppose I say all of this because I don't believe it's always the parents' fault if a child does something horrible.  We do the very best we can, and sometimes our kids are going to mess up.  They will let us down.  But we still love them and keep working to train them.  Our children are a work in progress.

Keep fighting the good fight.  And be mindful that other parents are doing the same.