Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Learning How To Say Well Done

As a parent, I have never wanted my children to need my constant accolades to feel good about themselves.  I have intentionally encouraged them to complete a task and then ask me to come look at it instead of calling me over for every crossed "t" or dotted "i".  I feel like I am doing them an injustice by telling them "good job" at every turn, instead of saving that praise for the special tasks they have been working hard on (even when they haven't yet accomplished it perfectly yet) or for a job that gets completed well (or for a happy heart in a tough circumstance for that matter).

Maybe part of this stems from my irritation at giving praise and acknowledgement for something when it is required or asked of me, causing false praise.  This reaction causes me to build a prideful wall up around my heart instead of leaning on my natural tendency to encouragement.  I then tend to go to the other extreme and ignore or not say anything at all.  None of which is healthy or something that I'm proud of...

*sigh*

Well, just because I say I don't want children that _________________, doesn't mean that I will never have a child that does exactly that.

Can I get an AMEN?!

Here is what I mean...

Alethia was a favorite in the orphanage.

I know, it's weird to think of favorites or one-on-one attention in an orphanage.

But she got attention, and LOTS of it.

That isn't a bad thing...at all!

But it makes things complicated for us.

See, she got LOTS of attention, but not really lots of love.

The kind of desired mommy and daddy love that children are born with.

So, here is why it's complicated.  She continues to crave that attention, which she thinks she has to get by crying (very loudly I might add) and carrying on, even when there is nothing wrong, but in addition wants our constant acknowledgement and approval for EVERYTHING.

I have been feeling completely drained as I answer her constant "Mommy, yook at dat!" or "Mommy, I eating!" or "Mommy, um, daddy at Journey" (may I remind you that I have 3 other children who speak that "mommy" word in addition to Alethia...that's A LOT of "mommy's").

The inquisitive questions I don't mind because I know she is curious and everything is new to her here in America.  I know that her questions are how she is learning her English as well.  But it's the constant telling me exactly what she is doing every minute-and-a-half or the constant calling out, "Mommy", just so I'll look in her direction.  She wants me to see and notice everything.

I know she is not like my other children who have grown up with a loving mom and dad who have worked hard to keep their love tank filled up to overflowing.  I know it will take some time, maybe even a LONG time, to patch the leak in Alethia's love tank in order to keep the love contained inside.  I know that this is just part of the transition and part of the process, but man is it hard!

I pray that God will give me the love to pour into her tank and the patience to keep filling it up, no matter how constant it may be or how drained I may feel.  This is just another example of how parenting is such a reflection of the love that Christ shows us, his sinful, needy children.

Parenting is so humbling, isn't it?
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