October 10, 2015

Shards of Glass

I don't remember why he was throwing a tantrum, I can't keep track of all the things my children get frustrated about, but suddenly a glass was flying through the air at my head. I stepped out of the way. It shattered on the floor. I took both my kids to another room where they couldn't be hurt by the broken glass and then I began to clean up the mess.

As I picked up each shard of glass placing it into a bag I thought about our interaction. I wish I could clean up the broken pieces of my children as easily as I cleaned up those shards of glass. This world is a hard and confusing place to these little people. There are so many things they don't understand; so many rules, restrictions, changes and frustrations. There are things they can't do, can't have, can't touch, and just when they're most frustrated the people around them become frustrated too.

So as that glass came hurtling through the air I may have yelped in surprise (after all, I quite like my head, it is very functional) but I didn't yell, berate, or belittle. I simply said "Uh-oh" and showed him the mess he had made, then moved him to safety. He's one-and-a-half, he won't remember that I didn't yell, scream and call him names, but hopefully my reaction was one step toward teaching him not to react in anger and frustration, one less broken piece of his sweet spirit to mend.

I often look back at my reactions and wish I could have a do-over. I lose patience. I say things I regret. I miss opportunities to praise and encourage. I dole out consequences that are too harsh for the situation. Each of these interactions is a break, a crack, a shard. Those shards can't simply be swept up.

I believe in persistent parenting.

Persistent is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as:
 "continuing to do something or to try to do something even though it is difficult..."

Parenting is difficult, but it's worth it. It's worth continuing to try and do better, it's worth starting over when we make mistakes. It's worth being persistent, and starting over no matter how many times we make mistakes.
It's worth saying "Sorry", giving a hug, saying "I shouldn't have ______", "You were wrong, but I was wrong too, let's both do better next time".
Because even though I constantly fall short of my own expectations I know what my goal is, and I will be persistent; I will stop, regroup, apologize, think through how I wish I'd reacted, and try to do better next time.
After all, repentance and forgiveness apply to Motherhood every bit as much as they apply to every other aspect of my life.
What better way could there be to teach our children how to right their wrongs, than by showing them ourselves?

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