OK. MOST of the time I feel like I'm just surviving.
But my heart wants to mother my children in a way that honors the Lord AND meets their individual needs. And by "meeting individual needs" I do NOT mean "give them whatever they want". Let's be honest - giving them whatever they want is EASY. Giving them what they need is HARD. Impossible, without God's grace being showered upon me as their mother. Having eight of them makes it a challenge to parent each of them according to their own "bent" instead of parenting with the "assembly line" mentality. Assembly lines are more efficient! And less exhausting.
The Coach is preparing to teach some lessons on parenting to our fabulous Sunday School class in the weeks, ahead. When he first told me he was thinking about it . . . I protested! Loudly! Please tell me I'm not the only one who has experienced the "become a living example of all of the negative demonstrations of each lesson" phenomenon when you (or your spouse) are teaching on a topic?
And the truth? It's hard enough to parent correctly without putting oneself out there as actually knowing something. Anything.
For better or worse, the Coach is the kind of guy who is challenged by doing the hard thing, not dismayed (like his much more wimpy wife). He determined that it would be good for him to do the reading, studying, researching, praying, preparing. . . for lessons on parenting. Since we are. . . you know. . .
Anyway, in spite of the fact that I know many humbling, difficult, opportunities lie ahead for us in the implementation of what the Lord begins to teach us about parenting. . . it's been good to go back to some of the books that have helped us. Some of the resources we use on a regular basis when we need wisdom in this journey.
One of these (for me) is the book on the five love languages. It's not new. I'm sure you've read it or heard about it. A friend reminded me about it the other day and I've been so blessed by returning to it.
Knowing how to love my kids is a huge deal. It makes a big difference in their security, their confidence, and most of all, their understanding of their Heavenly Father's love.
I haven't figured out what the love languages are for all eight of them (there is a "Five Love Languages for Kids" version that is great, too). But I have an idea for most of them. Just being aware of how to love on them is making a huge difference.
That child that continues to slam into me while I'm fixing dinner? Physical touch.
That child that stands and chats incessantly about everything that happened at school, today? Words of Affirmation.
The one that leaves their room perfect every morning when they leave for school? Acts of Service. (That's mine, by the way, so those clean rooms REALLY make me happy!)
I'm been so encouraged by getting back to this information that I've known for a long time. Encouraged most of all, by how the Lord loves us. THAT humbles me. So undeserved.
By God's grace, the Coach and I are going to put ourselves out there for this parenting study (not that I'm going to have anything to do with it . . . but we do have the same children. . . and therefore the same struggles). Not because we are some kind of wonderful example. But because we NEED to be learning how to parent OUR children. The best way to learn something is to teach it (or so they say). We are happy to share the resources we have - God's Word being the first and most valuable. We have so much to learn - and we are happy to be learning together.
Just encase you ARE ever tempted to see the Coach and I as some kind of example in parenting? We are SO far from seeing the results of our parenting - good OR bad. And you have an open invitation to come SEE our amazing eight. That should clear up any misconceptions you might have about how well parented they are. Seriously.
Like, for instance, the fact that Little Man is sitting beside me playing on www.pbskids.org and eating a store bought sugar cookie for breakfast.
See what I mean?