Thursday, September 13, 2012

You Can't Change Them

I learned something the other morning--you can't change your children.  No, I don't mean trade them in for another model, variety or version but really, you can't change them.  I mean, I know all about don't expect your husband to change, he is who he is, and all, that but I never applied it to my children.

Looking at butterflies near Crater Lake

I came to this realization yesterday morning when it was chore time and 2 of my children, the girls, were busily working away to earn their quarter per chore.  My son had disappeared upstairs and was very quiet.  I assumed he was also busily working away on chores, I was wrong.  45 minutes later I called for A and he answered back, "I'm almost done with my card."  What? 45 minutes on a card that I thought you had already finished and left on the table.  What? you have not been working on your chores.  I was angry to say the least.  I have been fed up with this child's "when I get around to it" manner of working.  I have tried everything from taking away computer time, to room time, to more work, setting a timer and even more chores but nothing moves this child any faster.  At the same time all of this was going on, I was preparing us for a much anticipated day at the beach and we need to be out the door in 15 minutes.  So, A's basic chores were not even completed and as he moved to do the extra chores, ignoring the basics, because he want to earn money, he breaks down into tears as I tell him he doesn't have time and must finish the basics.  Well, I was not gracious and may have been yelling at the poor boy and hubs, who had thrown in his 2 cents during my tirade but praise the Lord I could still hear His voice.  That was when it hit me or shall I say God shouted at me.  "He's not going to change."  A is not going to change, he is who he is--slow, relaxed, casual, focused, disinterested, bored, lazy however, I want to put it, he is  God's wonderful creation given to me as a blessing and reward.

A--@ Grandma's house

So in that moment, I realized that I had been parenting for 10 years and had been trying to change my children into the personalities I think they should be.  My real job is to love these dear children not change them.  These children are not my creations or inventions but an expression of God's love to me and the world.

E--camping @ Jackson Meadows

So what am I to do with those irritating and frustrating personality traits that are there but I really wish were not?  God spoke again straight from his word-- bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).  This verse is specifically directed at fathers but I think it is also good advice to us moms.  So I can't change their personalities, that is not my job.  However, I can train and instruct them in the Lord.  So if what they are doing is of no biblical merit them I best learn to shut my mouth.  But, if what they are doing is out of line with God's word by all means I should train and instruct. My instruction should be done gentley as stated in 2 Timothy 2:25 so that they can be lead to repentance and knowledge.  Some things are my job and some things, like deep personality issues are better left to God. My children belong to the Lord and he is not finished with them or me, for that matter, yet.

K--Donner Lake

This may be one of those duh posts for you, but for me it was a big moment leading to a fresh appreciation for the work of God in all of our lives.

B--Camping @ Crater Lake


Anonymous said...

I think this is a lesson parents revisit throughout their child's life. Our little guy is 21, and due to changes in his financial aid package, he received a scholarship (wonderful right!) and lost his work study funds, which allowed him to work on campus and provided him his spending money.

Further complicating this scenario, he loved his work study position, and they loved having him. He had been pretty bummed all summer about the possibility/probability of not being able to continue in this position.

Earlier this week, we received an email from our son telling us he has decided to volunteer at the school, and this will limit the hours he has available for paid work. Thus, mom and dad will be need to come up with some additional monies each month. Monies that are really in our budget.

I was worried about sharing the news with my husband as I assumed he would be frustrated as I had initially been, but after we news was out, we looked at each other and said, "that's our kid".
Our kid isnt a big risk taker. Our kid needs to be extremely comfortable in his environment, if not, he withdraws. Our kid wants to be a teacher and loves working with kids. Our kid won't find/take another job unless it is a really really good fit.

As parents we are committed to his college education. We are privileged to be able to do so (with serious financial support from his aunt). Our primary goal is completion of his college education and living a life that is true to his values. He is doing both, just in his own way.

Twenty-one years parenting this child and we still need regular reminders of who he is.

How lucky that A has parents who get this!!

Tammy G said...

Blessings to you Anonymous for knowing and continuing to know who your child is. It truly is a challenge to let them be who they are created to be. I pray I do not hinder who God wants our children to be by my own expectations. Thanks for sharing your story.