I feel like I need to clarify a few things from my post "Playtime", where I said that I need to work on putting my kids first instead of putting them off to do what I want to do. I talked with a friend of mine today who expressed similar feelings, but she went on to say that she feels like there is a very fine line between not putting our kids off all the time and dropping everything to do something with or for them. I do feel like I need to put them first, but I do not feel that dropping everything teaches them anything but that the world spins around them--and so do I. I don't want them to think that they can spin me around whichever way they choose. There is a healthy balance, and it's one I seek to strike daily, but of course I don't always get there.
Kids need to know that the universe does not revolve around them exclusively, and they also need to know (in my house at least) that I am not their live-in maid. They need to learn responsibility (which my kids do not take to very well...) and accountability, they need to learn to respect authority figures, and they should know who is in charge. And it shouldn't be them. Kids need boundaries, I think they actually like them because otherwise they feel like they are adrift, without any firm foundation. Now, I will say, they don't always like the boundaries that I set, but it's just like my mother used to tell me: I've already been there. I've made those mistakes, and I don't want you to make the same ones I did. I took my mom's advice too lightly, and got in trouble for it, and chances are, my kids are going to do the same thing at one time or another. But by setting boundaries, and reminding them of those boundaries frequently (because we may assume they already know something they don't or remember something we've told them that they don't).
How does a parent do all this? Where is the parenting handbook I at times so desperately need? Unfortunately, that doesn't exist, but the good news is that God's "Book of Boundaries" (if you will) does exist, and we can read it and learn from it. His Word is full of boundaries set for us--not so we would look longingly out into the world and wish we didn't have so may rules to live by, but so that we have a firm foundation to set our feet on; so we wouldn't feel like we are floating by ourselves in the middle of the ocean, alone.
As a parent, the best example I can set for my kids is living by the boundaries that have been set for me. Then they can see their mother actively living out what I am asking them to do. They see me respecting the authority of God's Word in my life, they see me taking His advice seriously, and they see me accepting responsibility in my life and learning accountability.
They can also see me loving them through my actions, by listening to what they have to say instead of ignoring them or only half-way listening. By putting them first in some situations, but in others, when they are calling for my attention, telling them that they have to wait until I am done what I am doing. By explaining to them that our world has 7 billion other people living on it, and it's not all about them all the time. By setting firm boundaries for them, and not waffling back and forth on them. By loving their father and coming together as a unified front. It's not easy, and no one is perfect. We probably are not going to get it right every single time, but we weren't designed to be perfect. We were designed to put our trust in the One who is.
|The best part of having kids? Fun and Laughter :)|