While I am pretty “real” on this blog, I think there are times when I really need to diffuse the notion that things here are always filled with sun and blossoms. As a matter of fact, last week when I wrote that post about my son giving me a card of encouragement– I was quietly praying that the other shoe wouldn’t hit me in the head too hard when it was thrown. Yep. It never fails. You give praise, count a blessing…share with someone how great your kid is (eh hem)…and Satan will try to use that very thing to twist you up. I wished I had saved the text from my sister just 4 days ago that said something along the lines of being jealous that my son encourages me with God’s truth. My response to her was that I was going to hang on to that card and that moment for the day when his responses were not so encouraging. He’s a kid…my kid. It’s bound to happen. I just didn’t anticipate it so soon. ha ha.
So today is Mother’s Day, right? It was a great weekend. The kids played with friends, I had a date with hubby and then we went down to my parent’s house for a Mother’s Day/ Birthday combo. Wooo! But, there is this thing that causes contention in our home from time-to-time and that “thing” has been quietly rising up…twisting…turning…eroding.
Our son loves them. He typically reads to earn his weekend video game play time, but lately we have all discovered that we enjoy playing Minecraft together as a family. What began as a parental investigation to see what he was playing, became FUN. It’s actually pretty relaxing to build and harvest, craft and create. And it’s even more fun to do together. The problem is, the more our son plays video games- the more he wants to play video games. His attitude was beginning to change and this weekend it all came to a head. Furthermore, hubby and I have been enjoying it, too and with the recent rainy snap in the weather we have been playing more often. It’s time we look forward to when that time could probably be better spent elsewhere. None the less- here we are. Something that is fun has turned into a stumbling block. We’ve been here before. Once we recognize the problem we reel it in, create boundaries and change our focus. Today we are taking steps to do that.
So here’s the “real” part I wanted to share with you. You have to know that I am a normal Mom with normal kids and an imperfect life just like everyone else. Here’s how Mother’s Day ended:
After taking games away from him this afternoon so he could focus on enjoying his real live cousins and other family members- he got salty. But, he got over it long enough to play…until we got in the car to go home. I thought I was clear that he would not be playing at all on the way home, but felt like he was repeating “Can I play yet?” instead of “Are we there yet?” all the way home… At which point we had a discussion on gratitude, contentment and true joy. If playing these things makes him miserable then I don’t want him to play. So when we have these discussions I try to give him room to respectfully give feedback, share feelings and ask questions so it’s not a one-sided lecture. (Trust me, I find it very easy to have a whole conversation by myself, but we’re working on communication and I need him to participate.) This is where things got “real”. On our hour-and-a-half hour trip home he told us exactly how he felt. We always get our way…we are taking away the one thing he really likes as a hobby…we play after he goes to bed and that’s not fair…we have our phones and we should have the same rules…and I (yep, me…Mom) drop him off at school and come home and only do laundry and play video games. As a matter of fact, he proceeded to tell me that the only thing I was getting for Mother’s Day was more laundry to do. He shared that it was also unfair that I got …let’s see, I want to get this right…” Why do you get two celebration days a year (birthday and Mother’s Day) and I only get one? That’s not fair either!” Ok. So his perspective is a little skewed, but OUCH.
I wanted to rip into him for his ungrateful attitude, but didn’t want to fall into an argument with a ten year old. Trying to keep emotion in check is hard at times like this. Even on a day when the pastor was preaching about God as our parental example. I responded with sharp truth followed by silence. Some discussions are best if left until tongues and heads cool off. I ended up in tears shortly after we got home…then he started crying because he knew my feelings were hurt. Then our daughter joined in on the tears simply because it was a long, fun weekend and she was tired.
Happy Mother’s Day.
The sermon today could not have been any more well placed. God has so much patience and mercy with us. While He is just, God is also faithful to forgive, slow to anger and abounding in love.
And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; Exodus 34:6-7
We really need to follow His lead when parenting our children. I fall short.
So this Mother’s Day, I am praying to be free of offense. To forgive and to use this as a teachable moment as well as a moment for me to learn. I will respond to the conviction of truth and will administer rebuke with love. I will be praying that I can lean into God as my husband and I try to follow His example. I will pray that He will strengthen me to lead by example.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 9:5-9
We will be having a gaming fast this week and will be looking for other ways to connect. And, of course, I will still be doing laundry because that is one of the many ways I love serving my family. That is a gift that I will happily accept. I will be re-reading that card of encouragement that my son made for me because that was truth and encouragement that I needed last week- and still need this week.
And that, my friends, is the real.