Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Parenting: Not for the Faint of Heart

      Last night we were at a Dedication Dinner for a new Chick-fil-A opening in Little Rock this week.  It is a time to dedicate the business to the Lord and have a great meal together as a Chick-fil-A family.  (Side note - Chick-fil-A people are the best people.  They all feel like family to me, and I love the commonality of purpose that we share.  It is such a warm company, and I ♥ it.)  I talked with a friend all about parenting.  About how hard parenting really is.  She has two little boys, with ages similar to our girls - so we are in really similar places, and it was nice to commiserate (and rejoice a little).
      John always says that you do not have children to make your life easier - you have them to make your life better and richer.  He says the same thing about marriage, since that is not exactly a walk in the park either.  And what I am realizing more and more is that it could be easy to do these critically important parts of our life poorly.  That is actually the path of least resistance.  I didn't realize until I was actually parenting what work it would involve on every level.
      It would be easy to pretend I didn't notice when Lily is doing something she knows she shouldn't do, or that I have, in fact, just told her not to do.  It is much harder to choose to discipline our child in public, because we love her and want her to learn to submit to authority in her life.  She got spankings all over Canada - the worst being on a ferry ride where it echoed as Lily was yelling, "No spank you yet!"  We had to choose loving our child well over valuing what everyone around us might have thought of us - that is hard to do.  Not for the faint of heart.
      It would be easy to put my children into childcare all the time.  I cannot even fathom what I could get done without little friends around, but, for us, we want for me to be the primary influence in their lives during this time, since we are blessed to have that option.  It is short, and it goes by quickly.  And I ♥ Mother's Day Out, because we do need our time apart, but it is the exception, not the rule.  Having little friends as shadows is not for the faint of heart.
      It would be easy to not pay attention to the words that I say.  To speak harshly to the girls when I get frustrated or to speak before thinking and not act on what I say.  I want my girls to know that I mean what I say, which means that I am having to constantly monitor what I say.  That takes a lot of thinking, and some praying, to speak clearly and wholesomely all the time.  (which I do not get right all the time, unfortunately, that is not what comes naturally)  Speaking rightly is not for the faint of heart.
      I am realizing that I am just scratching the surface of choices we have ahead of us.  Hard, sacrificial choices.  Choices that will make us die to self (or not, when we choose wrongly).  Choices that will force us to take stands that people will not agree with.  Children have a way of making people draw lines in the sand about what is important to them, because you get one shot.  That's it.  No pressure or anything.
      We are learning so much, and I pray that we will be pliable in God's hands as we walk this path.  He has entrusted us with two precious lives that He cares about more than we do, and ultimately, He wants us all to know Him more through this process of being a family together.  I pray that He gives us the grace and love to do the hard things.  I don't want to be faint hearted - they matter too much.



Kristin Murdock said...

Love those little girlies. And you!

JennyMac said...

First off, I must say I'm so thankful for your friends opening another Chick-fil-A so close to our house! But don't worry, I have enough Chick-fil-A love to spread around. ;) Secondly, I completely agree that this parenting business is way more difficult than anyone prepared us for. Kudos to you for making up your mind to be tough enough to go against the grain when it benefits your little friends to do so. Keep it up! :)

Linds said...

wow. this is awesome! thanks so much for the reminder Carol! you're amazing!

Jessica said...

Tears, Carol! Thanks for the reminder of WHY we're called to be parents! I'm not sure I'm up for the challenge, but I look forward to learning from the Spenst family!!