Life has been gearing up in super speed. Two teens in sports, one guy in Cub Scouts, and a little lady dancing and tumbling away. Not to mention school activities on top of that. And in between all the running around, we have these pockets of time where we must parent, where ugly comes out and we are facing the same battles of emotional management, bad choices vs. good choices, and anger issues...just like when they hit the terrible twos--only so much more significant in their older ages.
If I allow myself to sit here and try and find the bright side of last night's tug-o-war with brothers fighting, or last week's slew of missing assignments, or consequence-dishing for bad language, I would be sorely disappointed.
This part of parenting stinks.
It's the part of parenting that not only has me wade in turbulent waters of conflict, but also chips away at my confidence that I am doing my best as a parent. It makes me stare at my child and say, "Where did you come from?" (In my head...I hated being told that as a kid, so I promised myself I would never say it out loud. LOL).
This morning, I was on Facebook and an old memory popped up in my newsfeed. It was a status I had in 2012 about my son (7 years old at the time) giving the rest of his birthday money to a family who wanted to adopt a baby girl in Africa. And then it brought to mind all the times my kids have poured out generously to others, have shown compassion without being asked to, have given a glimpse of the difference makers they will become.
I suddenly found myself looking from a heart view of each of my children, and remembering the good that was beneath all the necessary growing pains of becoming an adult. And it's so much more important than any drama we have today. The bright side is there, amidst the mess, and I am just now realizing it. No matter their mistakes or disobedience, I know their hearts are compassionate. From the same naughty lips that speak foul language, come the heart language of a boy who wants to help the less fortunate. From the same brotherly discord, comes a defender of his brother's honor in face of a bully.
While I have been yanking my hair trying to direct these children into adulthood, there's something that I would argue is even more important going on in their rearing.
We've been growing hearts.
And while there is lots of practical--sometimes excruciating--parenting to do, there are future adults here who will at least remember, and hopefully live out, one of the most important values we could teach them amidst the chaos, one that otherwise gets pushed aside in this culture of success and status. No matter how much my children accomplish on paper or on the field, I hope they remember the words and actions in those pockets of time where we parented beyond the reprimands, but impress upon them the need for compassion.
And, occasionally, my kids are displaying their roots in love and compassion, and I can forget the mess for a moment, knowing that it is truly fleeting. We are only wading through it to get to the good stuff--adults who will indeed make a difference in this world.