Monday, March 17, 2014

What is the 'right' way to parent?

There are many wrong ways to parent, and each of us seems to be an expert in how others are screwing up.  But, have you ever thought about what they might be doing right?

We all agree that no one is perfect, but that doesn't stop us from expecting perfection from others.  Whether it be our husbands (or wives), our children's teachers, our neighbors, etc.  We can point out all the 'wrongs' they are doing by how it affects us...and spend very little time finding the 'rights'.

When it comes to parenting, I have been guilty of thoughts (and sometimes spoken words) about other parents and what I deem a mistake in their technique.  Why do I care about how anyone else raises their children?  Because in some small way, it makes me feel less guilty about my own short-comings.  If I can find a 'bigger' problem with YOUR style, then my mistakes don't seem quite so severe.

And therein lies the root of the issues in society.  We are skilled at deflection, when God wants us to grow.  We spend so much time speaking about the awful actions of other people, believing that somehow we have nothing in our lives to work on ourselves.  We miss so many opportunities to support one another through rough times because we somehow believe people have created these situations themselves, and deserve the mess they find themselves in.

For every 'wrong' step a parent takes, there are many 'right' things they are doing that need to be praised and built up.  A kind word, a compassionate smile, a knowing nod of the head for a parent dealing with a tantrum-ing child in a store.  It can be the start of a better day for someone trying their best.

Don't be part of society's a part of the solution.  Love one another.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Special Needs child

I hate this label.

Every child is special needs, some needs are just more obvious than others.

I have never pitied the mother of a chid with special needs.  How can you pity someone who has such a fierce love and protection, an armour of strength, and a confidence beyond what I could hope to acheive?

No, pity is not the right emotion to have.  Awe, respect, amazement, envy?  Not envy of the struggles (although that's likely what provided that solid strength I see), rather envy of the inpenetrable exterior that faces so many negative and hurtful comments and assumptions every day. 

I know the exterior doesn't truly reflect the pain that resides in the heart...but to go home each day and repair the damage so you can face another day--that is truly a heroic routine.

Each of these Moms spend time wondering if there's a way to make others understand that their child IS capable, they are NOT the sum total of their limitations.  Maybe it's the tone of voice they used, is that why the teacher seems defensive about the advice given?  If I just had one more chance to explain things (darn, why did the emotions show up that last time?), maybe you would 'get' it then?

Listing all the deficits, the 'problems'--just to prove you are aware of them--doesn't allow for the time to show all the amazing accomplishments that also need to be on that list.

I don't want you to know all the struggles, I want you to know all the successes...what makes our little warriors thrive.  The moment you start believing I am looking for pity is the moment you gave up on my child.

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Change is a-coming

A whole year since my last post.  Strangely, not much has changed, and yet so much is different!

God has taken me down some interesting paths this year, and the direction is becoming a little less foggy, although still not clear.  Maybe I have decided to trust in His guidance, and spend less time arguing with Him about the wisdom of His message...or maybe I'm just too darn tired to fight?

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  Matt 11:28

Rest.  Yes, I have been given rest, but not in the form of sleep.  My mother had a saying, "A change is as good as a rest."  Although I would prefer more sleep, the changes have indeed felt restful!

The first 'change' came as an invitation to help teach new immigrants the English language.  Our Church began a new ministry to reach out to the many newcomers to our land, and help them to communicate better, in hopes they would feel more at home.

I hesitated to accept this position, as I had no formal training as a teacher, nor did I feel I could offer the mental space needed to be a support to strangers.  Little did I know, but the Lord had already prepared me for such a time as this! 

I found that each lesson brought back memories of my time in the Czech Republic, where I was the stranger in a foreign land.  Each kind word or deed, helped me through a very isolating time.  The people who showed patience and love, and helped me form their words, made my experience one to cherish.

I began to connect with my students, and we became fast friends.  Each of them has a unique story, and such a beautiful heart.  Where I thought I didn't have the mental energy to support, they filled that  void with laughter and warmth.

The second 'change' came when I attended the Annual General Meeting for my girls' French school.  There was very low parent turnout, and even less willing volunteers to lead the PAC group.  God had given me a dream the night before, in which I volunteered to lead.  It was absurd to even contemplate, as I do not speak French fluently enough to lead such a committee!

Alas, God had other plans, and it was as though my arm was lifted by a power beyond my intentions....and I was applauded into my new role--most likely due to the relief of those not in my shoes, haha!  I have received so much support in my role, and have grown in my use of the French language.

Throwing myself into roles where I am uncomfortable has given me a new perspective, and has humbled me to ask for help from others.  Although I enjoy the interactions and new friends, I am terrified and plagued by anxiety before each meeting.  I hope those feelings will dissipate with each month. 

That's it for now.  Hopefully it won't take another year to update *tee hee*  God Bless!