Thursday, August 18, 2011

Life's Lessons

Perhaps it's because our life is very hectic right now; perhaps it's because we (the kids and I) are staying three nights/days a week with my Granny; perhaps it's because we have been in a Laura Ingalls Wilder phase; OR perhaps it's all of the combined reasons......but once again I have come full circle to realize that I have let too many things a parent.

So why would this have anything to do with the above? Let me explain.

A few weeks ago, my Granny had an incident that has made us concerned about leaving her alone. As a result, my sisters and I have been taking turns staying overnight during the week, as well as having someone with Granny at least most of the time during the day. We have no idea how long this will be for. Truthfully, we are considering it to be indefinite, since Granny's deepest desire is NOT to be placed in a nursing home. We are trying our very best to grant her her wish.

Because of this, we are sleeping four nights a week at home. The days at home are packed with getting stuff done around the house, doing our paper route, and such things. It will only get busier once we begin school again.

On top of this, my dad has just recently been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, which is cancer of his bone marrow. Fortunately, it's in the early stages and he should respond quite well to chemotherapy. I have been running with my dad to appointments, and between my sisters and I we will be taking him to his weekly, 3-4 hours at-one-time, appointments.

That is why my life is hectic.

I am finding myself *tuning out* my kids' behaviour too much. And, when they are in a different house almost half of their week, and when their behaviour affects my Granny, then I begin to realize how much I must *buckle up* and improve.

I could make excuses for them. They sleep on a blow up mattress on the floor and don't sleep well. They don't have any "down" time in their own room. I don't have any "down" time and am more impatient than ever. I don't have the freedom to take them as much to the park as I used to.....only when Granny is feeling well enough. When I am home it's not much fun because I'm busy catching up.

However, as tired as I am.....I know this is really no excuse. It shows a lack of training on my part more than anything. And, in the long run, I am very GLAD that their lives are so different right now. I want them to understand that life is not all about them. I want them to understand the importance of family, and teach them to serve. in ME...... just needs to improve.

As I mentioned above, we have been on a Laura Ingalls Wilder kick. I have never before listened (or read) intently to the entire stories. However, during The Long Winter, my interested piqued and I have been reading the rest of the stories since.

I realize that during the time they lived in, generally kids were more obedient and parents were more consistent disciplinarians. However, Charles and Caroline Ingalls were, from all accounts, VERY even-tempered, NEVER raised their voice, RARELY spanked their children.....and yet their children were very well behaved and obedient. They had a heart to please their parents.

One particular incident in the book really *yanked* my chain. Laura, 14 at the time, was picked on wrongfully by her teacher. The teacher really took a dislike to Laura and Carrie and let it show. One time Laura was sent home from school because she stood up to how the teacher treated her little sister. Charles and Caroline NEVER once sided with Laura......they told Laura that she must ALWAYS respect the teacher. Another time, Charles and two other school board members walked into the school for an inspection (after hearing that the teacher had no control over the class), and the teacher accused Laura of being the main problem in her class. Charles took it in stride, would not let Laura defend herself, and informed the teacher that the school board supported her and admonished the children to obey their teacher. Afterward at home, Charles let Laura know that he knew she didn't intend to cause trouble but there must have been something she had said at some time to let the teacher behave as she did toward her. They discovered what it was....a statement blown entirely out of context......and used it to teach her a lesson to keep her mouth shut.

How many parents these days would react this way? Would I? Yet I believe with all of my heart their parenting was 100 percent correct.

Bro. Steve Pixler preached at camp meeting this year, and his last message in particular was a revelation. I don't ever want to forget it. He said that the true suffering of the cross was not bearing our own scars from past failures and mistakes. It was suffering WRONGFULLY. And IN SILENCE. Until we could do that, we really could not be like Jesus. We could not be resurrected into a NEW MAN. He even told a story very similar to the one of Laura, where his daughter was wrongfully accused by someone, but he kept his mouth shut, had his daughter apologize to this person......all so he could teach his daughter a valuable lesson.

My point is this: Although the times I live in is different, I KNOW I want to be that kind of parent. Staying at home with them AND even homeschooling them....simply is not enough. I must be engaged. I don't believe my convictions are wrong of what their behaviour should be like (and trust me, I question myself all the time), but what is wrong is my REACTION. Or lack thereof.

So, all of this is weighing on my mind. Life is bringing out inadequacies. And that's okay. That's as it should be. I really do just want to improve.


palmtreequeen1 said...

Awesome post, Darla! As a kid I always thought Pa was an amazing father and longed to marry someone like him! I would dream of having Laura's life~I am so thankful that Laura wrote her books because they have truly been a blessing to me too! God bless xxoo

Darla said...

Thank you, Deanna! I really never realized how good they were.

Rachel Goff said...

Wow! Thanks for the wake-up call, Darla! Perfect timing, well said, and much needed!! Now, to get down to business straightening myself out.....

Darla said...

It's an ongoing process, Rachel. Nobody has the gold medal yet on parenting, but there are sure a few parents I know of that are very close to it. Thanks for your comment. I still very much wish our kids could get together some time.........

Rachel Goff said...

Oh, Darla! Wouldn't that be a ball! I am laughing out loud just thinking of our kids together! I'd greatly enjoy the time with you, too...