Every so often, I am reminded that the phrase "Wisdom out of the mouth of babes" has deep roots in the truth.
The past few weeks have been difficult at our house. My soon-to-be-six-year-old is testing the limits of my patience on a regular basis. He is ornery, sassy and disrespectful and he knows better. Many moms tell me "it's just the age, he's just a little boy," but I am not pleased with the behavior.
Then, the other night, while he was saying his prayers, out came this:
"Thank you for mom. I am not always good, but she is always good to me, anyway."
Sadly, I was amazed that he believed this.
All week, I had been feeling like the mom-ogre: yelling too much, fighting to get anything done, runnning late and generally being no fun to be around. To discover that my sweet boy (who IS still in there, somewhere) still identified me as his mom, who is always good to him, was a shocker.
It seems that little ones remember the bedtime stories, tickle fights and kisses, more than the asking-them-to-get-ready-for-bed-forty-three-times. Is this really true? I'd sure like to think that our children give us more credit for the good stuff than they do for the bad.
After this unexpected insight, I've been trying to "choose my battles" with my son. Yes, it would be nice if he did everything I asked him to do, the first time. But, no, it's not going to happen and some things just aren't worth the fight. I'm trying to see my days-worth of behavior, through his eyes. Is his general picture of me with an angry face or a smiling one? Does he hear my voice as upset or supportive, first? Is he happy that he spent the day with me or does he wish he had been with someone else?
I want him to grow into a kind, respectful, wise, happy person. While I do have a responsibility to discipline him when he's wrong, I need to remember that I also have a responsibility to show him how to be a positive, loving parent. It's a hard balance, but I'm working on it.
I want him to be saying the same prayer when he's 15 and I need to earn it.