Monday, October 26, 2015

To Jump Up Or To Stay Seated

Before Josh and I had kids we observed lots of parents and very quickly decided that we were NOT going to be the parents that jumped up every time their kids scraped their knees on the pavement or bumped their elbow on the table (which is a good thing because I would never be able to sit down. EVER.)

Most of the time these boo-boo's hardly even warranted a Band-aid, much less a dramatic drop of whatever their parents were doing just to go lavish them with attention when they could just as easily just jump right up and go back to playing.

I can honestly say that this is one area that I have withheld to my pre-parenting standards.  (Sometimes to a fault actually.  Remember that time I kept fussing at Rainy because she kept getting out of bed crying for water.  I stood my ground, telling her that she was FINE.  Until she woke up the next morning with a 103.6 fever and strep throat?! Yeah, NOT the time to tell them to suck it up and stop procrastinating on going to sleep, ha!)

There is a balance that has to be made.

I want my kids to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, their mom and dad are on their team, cheering them on, and will most certainly step in if we NEED to, but I want my kids to know that they have been equipped to walk the very shaky steps of life on their own, as we teach them along the way.  I want to help them learn to get up on their own, assess the actual (not hypothetical) damage of the situation and realistically see if their situation is something to get upset about or not.  Because a lot of times I think our kids just feed off of us (our fears for them) and our reactions to what they are going through.

This balance is particularly important for Zeke and his anxiety episodes.

If I were to accidentally wash a stack of his most prized Pokemon cards (ahem...) and he were to find them the next day on an early Sunday morning at Journey, I might need to have a little more compassion on him than in a situation where he were to walk over to see that "my favorite pencil" that has been sitting on his desk under papers and trash for 3 months without being touched, had been picked up by the little destroyer of all things Jude the dude.  (Of course this is ALL hypothetical!)

It also applies to Areyna breaking down over someone using her markers vs. someone messing up her science experiment that she had been working tirelessly on.

Or to Alethia saying that her friend didn't want to be her friend any more vs. Cai calling her a "poop head".

The fact of the matter is, our kids are going to have to face things their entire lives.  Are we going to be there to walk alongside them as they try to work it out or are we going to try to carry them the entire way.

If we carry them we are adding their very real burdens onto our own very real burdens.  But I don't think that is healthy.  We have to be willing to put them down.  We cannot carry them that long.  We weren't meant to carry them that long.  We carry them until they can get down and walk on their own.

I know us mama's jump into fix-it mode every time something in our kids lives gets off track.  Of course we want the best for them.  But what are we really fixing if we jump in and flex our mama muscles?  We are ripping that self-confidence out of their hands for being able to figure it out on their own.  We are deterring them from turning to God and asking Him for help if we are the ones who always try to make things better.  We are taking a learning experience away that will further their dependency on their relationship with Christ.

If we jump it may make them feel better for a time, but its merely a Band-aid as they grow up in this very real world full of hurt and disappointment, and they will eventually begin to just expect us to jump and fix all that is wrong with their lives.

I know for me, this is something I have to pray for on a daily basis as I decipher when to jump and when to sit.  Sitting is harder, for sure, but when we sit, it allows God to do the jumping.  And He can jump way higher and fix way better than we ever could.  Besides, our children are really His anyway.
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