Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Still Looking

When your children were new-borns, did you ever find yourself looking for the user's guide that was supposed to come with them?
You know, the little instruction book which would tell you exactly what each cry meant, how to comfort each whimper, and what to do in every situation? Oh, how I longed for that information!
Last week I found myself looking for it again. Wondering what it would have to say about seventh graders and their moms.
Joshua called me from school one morning, because he had forgotten his science book and homework. We had already had a trying morning because of math homework he needed to finish (Which delayed me in getting ready for work.) and I think Joshua was sensitive to that fact as he brought his request to me. These were his words: "If it wouldn't be too hard for you to do in the next half hour, could you bring my science book to school? Because I forgot it and my homework is in it. But if it would be too hard for you, I can use a homework pass. It's OK."
I told him he would need to use the homework pass. And I was glad he'd made that suggestion, because it made my 'No' easier to say.

That's when I found myself wanting the instruction book again.

Part of me was thinking the best thing to do was NOT to take the homework to school. How is a child going to learn responsibility if dear ol' Mom always comes to the rescue? Right?
Besides, it would have been a significant hassle to make the trip to school. I had already been delayed by the math homework with which Joshua needed help. Didn't have any extra time left that morning.
So it seemed entirely reasonable to me to tell Joshua he needed to use that homework pass.
BUT then I got to thinking about it more.
Would it be better for me to make the sacrifice?
Shouldn't I extend grace to my son, as God lavishes it on me?
I forget things, too, and need help from others. Isn't it reasonable to understand another person's ability to forget sometimes?

Honestly, I was not laboring over these questions with regard to Joshua forgetting his science book. I really believe I made the right decision there.
The thoughts were going on to other circumstances, just wondering where we - as parents - need to draw the line between extending grace, and teaching our children responsibility.
And that's when I started wanting for that instruction book again.
I haven't found it.
Been praying a lot - asking God to give me wisdom in drawing those lines.
But as for that book?
I'm still looking!
Have you seen it?



Anonymous said...

Good morning, Karen...

If you find the instruction book, send it my way! :)

Catching up on my blog reading today! I've missed popping over here. But you are still in my prayers.

Hope you have a wonderful day!!!


Irritable Mother said...

Dori - Good morning!
Thanks so much for praying. I need it!
And, if I do find the book? I'll share it with you, but you'll need to promise to send it back. *wink*

Wendy said...

Karen, thank you for sharing this. I don't know if you realize it, but it's very encouraging to know that someone else is asking those same questions. After 22 years of motherhood, you'd think I could write that book. Alas, I'm still seeking those answers! LOL

And if I find a copy? I'll tell you where you can get your own. Because mine will become too dog-eared to loan. *wink*

TheUnSoccerMom said...

If you find it, let me know!!

I have horrible "mother guilt" if Christen goes off and doesn't have everything she needs. I know I shouldn't. She's 16 and should be learning how to get through things like that herself. But it's so hard.

ps. My husband and I finally had that talk. :o)

Mary said...

Ah yes . . . the proverbial line in the sand. . . where does it happen? How do we know if we've crossed it?

I think it's a wonderful thing to show grace to our children - just like our Father shows us, but I also remember that sometimes He shows us grace after we've messed up - not necessarily keeping us from messing up - but afterwards. . . he doesn't belittle us for making the mistake or remind us over and over again how many times we've messed up. . . . Ya know? Does that make sense (because it does in my head). LOL

So sometimes, I let my kids make the mistake, reap the consequences of it and learn the lesson - it's a great teacher. I show grace by loving them in spite of that mistake and never shoving it in their faces as a reminder that they have perpetually screwed up.

Other times, I just save them from the mistake. Because I'm the Mama. And it's what I love to do!

xxx M.

Patricia/NYC said...

Oh boy...a subject so close to my heart, indeed! This is one of the toughest parts of parenting, isn't it? If you find that book, let me know!! lol! I'd love to share it! Heck, I'll make a bunch of copies for all of us!! lol!

Anonymous said...

Our son being 9yrs and our daughter 26yrs, married and making plans to start a family. Well both being very different...of course!! Yet I must confess there have been and still are times when I could have used an instruction book...*grin*

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and unbraideth not and it shall be given him. James 1:5

Blessings and much joy,
Debby Ann

Irritable Mother said...

Wendy - I didn't realize it, but I was hoping! Indeed, it is good to know we don't struggle alone.
Too dog-eared? I understand that of which you speak! *grin*

Jodi - Mother-guilt and I are familiar acquaintances. I'm trying to distance myself.
So glad you had the talk!

Mary - That makes perfect sense. I love how you put it - letting them reap the consequences, and loving them in spite of the mistake.

Patricia - One of 'em. Yep!
You'll be among the first to know if I find that book. *grin*

Debby Ann - Guess we'll always be wanting for that book. So glad God gives wisdom when we ask for it!

gianna said...

Oh, I love this post. Just yesterday I was asking myself the question of can i give it to Brin and it be okay even though she knws I am upset about it? is it grace or is it being a push over?

Irritable Mother said...

Gianna - Asking, asking. So glad God knows the answers!