Virtual School Days. I love them and hate them. It is a complicated relationship. I love letting everyone sleep in a little longer, not racing to get dressed and out the door. But there are still those days that class starts in 5 minutes and the big kid still needs to throw on a shirt, make sure internet is going to work today, and get ready to focus.
This morning was one of those days. I knew he had a Biology test at 8:00 am. It is Friday, the hardest day to get up. A week of school, staying up later than we should, and it all catches up with us this morning.
We are in our third week of school. It has been many months since we have had a school routine. We are out of practice of getting up early every morning.
As I struggle to get the big kid up, I recall the old days when I shifted my parenting technique from “yelling” to “hugging.” I forgot about that. Back when the kids were smaller, I had read an article about speaking softer or whispering instead of yelling. This gets their attention and they respond better.
The last few weeks there may have been some yelling. Maybe I should try something different.
This morning I remember how it worked when they were small. I would crawl in bed next to them, rub their head, and whisper good morning. I would start talking to them and gradually wake them up. I tried this today, but they are bigger and there is not much room for me to cuddle up next to them in their beds. This morning, this technique made my morning better and their morning better, as well.
Parenting is hard. I had some amazing mentors growing up to show me how it is done. There is one lady that I have tried to shadow or be more like. I wish she were still here, so I could soak up her selflessness, patience, listening skills, and her great example of living close to God.
This woman was selfless and humble. She had no agenda to receive any praise for herself. She always put others first. She always made sure her family was fed. She would stop what she was doing to feed you if you were hungry, and when you weren't hungry. She put others first before her own needs and always comforted us in our difficult times.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4
Her patience was unlike anyone I know. I do not recall her yelling, but only communicating with us. I remember her voice soft and sweet. She never rushed us and always took such good care of us. Her love was felt just being in the same room as her.
Be completely humble and gentle: be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
I wish I had her listening skills. As I grew older, I realized just how much she truly listened. You know, when someone stops what they are doing, looks you in the eyes, and hears every word you say. She never multi-tasked. She stopped doing dishes or folding laundry and was 100% devoted to you and the conversation.
Because she listened so well, she also asked the right questions. Asking the right questions or remembering what was troubling us the previous week, truly made me feel love and warmth after a visit. Having that feeling of love deep inside of me shaped me into the person I am.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. James 1:19
Lastly, I recall her relationship with Christ. Christ above everything else. I remember her Bible always out on the counter or living room table. I remember her faith in Christ and her standing on His word and promises. Anytime I had a problem, I wanted her to pray for me. I remember having a miscarriage and wanting her to pray for me. There was something about her prayers. I just knew she had a direct connection to God.
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. John 6:40
As I “parent” and raise my children, I hope they understand and learn the following things:
I respect them. They are not children to be looked down upon, but human beings that I can sit on the floor and get face to face, look directly in their eyes to communicate. (Or maybe on my tippy toes as I look up towards my son.)
That my love for them runs so deep that they feel the love in my heart when words come out of my mouth.
That I am more than just a driver to get them from place to place, but a friend to listen when their days are hard. That our conversations in the car are the best part of my day hearing about all the details of their life.
I pray that I have patience, and am an example, so that they learn to have patience. That maybe there is a reason someone is moving slower than me in that moment. Maybe when I am rushing them, and they are not responding, that I listen and hear what is slowing them down.
I hope they see the sacrifices I make as I “look not only to my own interests” and they learn to do the same.
I pray they do not get tired of me saying, “well that must be God’s plan, we must trust him.” That they learn to stand firmly on faith and Christ’s love for us. That they always put Him first!
I am no parenting expert, but I sure had a great mentor. My goal of being more like the woman described above, my grandmother Hobbs, is a goal I will never reach. It is no easy task to be selfless, patient, a great listener, and have faith like hers. I pray that the fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) flow through me every single day. That maybe I am little kinder and a better example, so that my babies grow up to live a happy, faith filled life.