Please help me to love my children today… not for what they might become tomorrow or in the future. Help me to like them even if they never master a certain skill that I want them to master. Let me love them unconditionally, never withholding my love or approval from them based on their performance. Let me see the good in them and make me blind to their shortcomings. Forgive me because I know that I have been forgiven so much and yet I hold my children’s failures against them.
Possum is 6 years 10 months
Bandicoot is 4 years 8 months
Little Princess is 2 years 2 months
I am struggling with Possum just now. He is, once again, very highly strung, angry and well PRICKLY. Although, when I say angry, I realised today he isn’t really. He is acting angry; behaving angry. If he slips up you can see that it is a cover, that he isn’t really angry. This continuous nastiness is just the behaviour that is working for him right now.
And work it does. It gets him attention. It gives him control of the family (Eldest kids! *sheesh* DH and I are much more easy going and have spent our lives chorkling in our sleeves about such neediness.) We know that we are being played, and that he is (currently) winning, but short of leaving him in danger (oh, he is smart about when he does it) we haven’t worked out what to do. Yet.
I am reading this book: “Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe” by Todd Wilson. I so wish it was available as a hard copy! It is aimed at homeschoolers, as you might have guessed, but so much of it is relevant to all of my parenting experience. (But then, that is the thing about homeschooling, isn’t it? It isn’t compartmentalised like sending your child to school, it is a complete lifestyle.)
After yesterday reaching the point where I really did not like Possum because of his behaviour – I mean really. REALLY. I got upset at DH for not driving off and leaving him behind – I stumbled upon this prayer.
I prayed it.
And again this morning.
Help me to like them even if they never master a certain skill that I want them to master.
Help me to like him even if he never learns to control his emotions and temper.
Let me love them unconditionally, never withholding my love or approval from them based on their performance.
Help me NOT to make the mistakes my Mum and Dad did that hurt me so much.
Let me see the good in them and make me blind to their shortcomings.
Let me see the real little Possum, not just the angry ball of emotion.
And you know what? Today was much better! Oh yes, we went out and yes, he did the flip from sweet and fun kid to obnoxious toe-rag, but this time it was different.
For a start, this time it wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about me being a failure as a Mum. It wasn’t about me not coping or not being good enough. It wasn’t about him being a terrible person.
This time I loved him as he is today.
Even if he never grows out of it.
Even if we don’t learn to control it.
Even if we don’t ever help him to manage it better, despite our efforts.
I didn’t loathe him. Or me. I loved him; my dear, obnoxious, angry, 6 year old, struggling to find his place in the world.
Which got me thinking. Maybe our role as parents isn’t to solve all the problems with our kids. Maybe it isn’t to fix them. Maybe it isn’t to make them perfect little people. Maybe our role is not so much to lead them through it, maybe it is simply to love them through it.
Yes, it is important to be a guide, but it is more important to be their support, surely – to love them unconditionally.
I know that is all I ever craved as a kid.
And still now, when I face life’s muddles and make them worse, that is what I need.