|Painting pumpkins almost a year ago|
Well, my heart softened. I realized right then and there, that I needed to embrace who she was, instead of scolding. Don't get me wrong. I know there is a time and place to have fun and crawl around, and I know that we should be somewhat reverent at church. But at this moment, I felt the strongest urge to put my arm around her and tell her something kind. I looked over at her, a little unsure of what to say or do. At that moment, she was bent over in her chair with her head on the ground, so I tapped her on her back. She sat up quickly, with a guilty look on her face, sure that I was going to scold her for fooling around in her chair. I put my arm around her, and told her how grateful I was that she was in my class. And I really meant it. Tears started pouring down my face. I whispered in her ear that I was sorry for being stern with her in class earlier. While tears were streaming down my face, I thought of the Savior, and how He feels about little children. I am sure He would have treated them with love, instead of scolding them.
Most importantly I also thought about my own children and how I parent them. I think I've mentioned this before (here), but sometimes I find myself being concerned with how others are judging me as a mother, and as a teacher at church. I get too concerned when other adults give me that look....you know the look.....the one where they are thinking....."look at her (me), she sucks as a parent, her kids have no respect for her and are soooo disobedient!" Or at least, that is what I am assuming "they" are thinking when they give "the look". I'm sure my own ideas of how a child should behave, and my own feeling of inadequacy plays a big part into the assumption that other people are judging me. But I also know, people do judge. I do. I hate to admit it, but I do. So many times, I've had to take a big bite of humble pie, so to speak. Because I make a judgment on someone else, and then later realize that I shouldn't have judged since I was going through the exact same thing with my children. Funny how that happens!
Anyways, I've realized something profound today. It's definitely not the first time I've realized it, but it hit me hard today. Like a hammer pounding a nail into wood....I feel like Heavenly Father is teaching me OVER and OVER again (to gently remind me) to be patient, and to not worry about how others are judging me as a parent. I know that a child's worth, and how they feel about themselves is so fragile. I hold my children's self worth in my hands. I can either crush it, or make it blossom. Obviously I want to make it blossom. I know that children mostly learn out of love and gentleness. There is a time and place for talking sternly and disciplining, but I DEFINITELY don't want to use those tactics out of fear. Fear of what others may be thinking about me, as a parent.
I've realized that I am getting a lot better at this. I realize more quickly when I am acting out of fear, and try to put myself in check. To make myself realize that it does NOT matter what anyone else thinks. When I was out in the hall dealing with my LOUD son Lincoln earlier at church, a woman was watching me. I could not tell what she was thinking, but I was embarrassed. But then quickly I reminded myself, that it does not matter. I have nothing to be embarrassed about. I cannot control my child's behavior completely 100% of the time. It's NOT possible.
In all honesty, all that matters is what my children think about me. All that matters is that when my children are going through a hard time, whether in elementary school or high school, or beyond....that they will want to come to me to talk about their problems. That my children will trust me no matter what. I want them to be my very best friends. My husband, and my children mean more to me than anything else on this earth. As it should be. As each day passes, I realize more and more how much I LOVE being a mother. It is an awesome responsibility. I really do think it is the BEST "job" anyone could ever have in this life. Motherhood can mold a woman into something beautiful.
So with tears streaming down my face, I thanked God for giving me another reminder from this sweet little girl "Anne", about humility, patience, and grace. And you know what...."Anne" sat quietly beside me the rest of class. It was a small miracle. Love really does conquer all.