There are times in the motherhood journey when you just shake your head, knowing that you’ve done right and wrong and nothing all at the same time. Yesterday was one of those days. It was in the morning. Climber and I were trying to get ready to head out to run some errands and a battle of the wills began.
Now before you ask, yes, I’ve read Dr. Dobson’s Strong-Willed Child (and perhaps I should read the updated version). And yes, I know that doing battle with a 4-year-old is not ideal. But it happens. So there we were, waging war against an unseen foe and each of us was going to win.
How do I know? Climber comes by it honest. I was a strong-willed-child myself once. I’m still pretty strong-willed. There is value in that. There is tenacity in that. There is determination in that. There is achievement in that. And there is great disaster in it as well. So there we were, two strong-willed children together, doing battle and neither of us was backing down.
As I’m pulling the old “because I’m the parent and you are the child and I win” argument, Climber’s attorney-in-training comes out with this gem:
But you sang a song in church about listening to your kids, so you need to listen to me!
I told you he is going to be a lawyer one day! Or a hostage negotiator. Not sure which. Anyhoo… My strong-willed-self immediately responded with “I remember singing no such song!” I’m the pastor. I picked out the hymns. I announced the hymns. I should remember right?
And then I remembered…
We sang the hymn “Lord, listen to your children praying.”
In that moment, I shook my head, knowing that I’ve done right and wrong and nothing all at the same time. I’ve done right in that Climber was in church and listening. He knows how to apply some of what he’s learning about God’s love for us and others in the real world (even if it’s a little off). I know that Racer and I have something to do with that. I’ve done wrong in that I have probably modeled that strong-willed argumentative personality too much. I’ve worked on it and need to keep working on it. And yet, even as I’ve done right and wrong, in many ways, I’ve done nothing at all.
Climber is who he is. As a mother, I have great influence over my children’s personality. Yet, they are who they are. God is designing them despite of my actions. And they have great care-takers that have influence. And great teachers. And great faith communities. Sometimes, as a mother, I do nothing and my children still turn out great.
So mommas, don’t worry. You are doing a lot of things right. And sometimes you just have to shake your head, knowing that you’ve done right and wrong and nothing all at the same time.
And your kids will be okay.