I have reached that point in my life where I am completely comfortable with asking myself,”What in the world are you doing?” In my mid thirties, I never thought I would be asking myself that question…that was more of a fiftieth or sixtieth birthday question. Throughout my primary school years I wanted to know everything, during my teenager years I assumed I knew everything, while in my twenties I did know everything and now I am realizing that I had no clue! Yes, my life has played like scenes from a Lifetime original flick but have I taken good enough notes? Yes, I have learned lessons the hard way and even made the same mistakes twice but have I really learned what God intended for me to learn?
Watching my children grow up reminds me of so many episodes of my childhood, some of which I share with my children with the hopes that they will learn from my mistakes. But for the most part, I share my experiences with them because I want them to understand that I do know what they are going through. Let’s take “trying to be right” out of the equation becasue that is not what I want to be. “Being right” can also mean that there is pain involved or disappointment and those are things that I do not want for my children- what parent would?! I am not so niave to think that my children are immune to the ways of the world and it’s sting but I would like to think that I can lessen that sting some how.
Growing up primarily in the state of Texas isn’t so welcoming to an open-minded, liberal, loud mouth such as myself but it did make for an interesting upbringing. The state and it’s people are conservative, closed-minded, religious, old-fashioned, kind, open hearted, loyal and grounded. I was one (ok, ok I still am in some ways) to push the envelope and test the limits, not to say that I wasn’t pushed back and taken down a few notches from time to time but I never gave up. When I set my sights on something I wanted I fought to get it, one way or another. I remember, while in the fourth grade, a classmate called me fat and that one comment set in motion my “body image state of mind”. Before this comment sprung from this kid’s mouth thoughts of myself were “which banana clip to wear”, “which pair of jellies were more comfortable?” and “how many cuts will my lip obtain before getting my braces off?” I never worried about my weight before and I never cared how people viewed me physically. I wasn’t one to hesitate with a come back when someone was offensive but this comment left me speechless. I remember running to the teacher in tears and being told not to tattle tale. This incident stuck with me, obviously, but did not impact me in a negative way. I used this to my advantage by replaying that “nany nany boo boo” voice and those words over and over again until it motivated me to be active and eat healthy. I vowed to work as hard as I could to maintain a healthy self-image and, to this day, I have kept that promise to myself. Now, getting my teen daughter to do the same, that’s another thing. I can tell her how to dress, eat, exercise, bathe, and breathe but it won’t do a bit of good if she doesn’t want to. So, instead, I tell my kids to flip these types of situations and work from the other end…meaning, if someone is being nasty towards them, they should “kill ‘em with kindness”. Realizing that not every person ALWAYS has something nice to say and that they need prayer can help keep you, your kids or anybody from focusing on the negative of their comment. Jesus tells us to treat others as we would want to be treated and that is sooooooooo helpful when all you want to do is swing back with witty banter. With my youngest I must remember to spell out what ever lesson I am trying to instill as he doesn’t quite receive things the same way as my eldest. For the most part, I like to think that my children “get it” and understand that it’s not right or acceptable to be bully or pick on others but do they understand that it’s not right for others to do it to them? Keeping tabs on my kids, staying in their business and offering my insight and support eases the pain (on my part) for now. I would LOVE to dive right in and act like the Berlin wall against any wrong doing that gets hurled their way but I know that I must wait patiently on the sidelines. I realize that I have left God waiting in wings and that is not ok. It’s my duty as a wife and mother to make sure that God is behind MY steering wheel daily, speaking through me and guiding my family. I now have a new promise for myself: making sure that God is known by my children and and they allow Him to steer.