As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Learning Together

My oldest son is almost eight.  I love him to pieces, and I can appreciate the unique role he has in being our first.  Every new challenge he faces is a first for us.  We're still figuring out how to parent him, and just when we think we have everything under control he gets a little older, and finds a new way to challenge us - and we have to go back to the drawing board.

We have been struggling lately with a budding attitude, which I'm sure many of you will read and have a good laugh over.  I realize that it's just the tip of the iceberg, and I'd better figure out how to handle it without letting it get to me really fast, or I'm in for many rough years ahead.  It is a stark contrast with the rest of the children in our household - the younger kids are either in the middle of a tantrum or they're over it and onto something new.  But Joseph is learning how to hang onto things, and when I would rather he just accept something (a "no, you can't do that now", a discipline, or whatever might be the object of his dismay) he is learning that he doesn't have to turn the page just because I want to.  In short, he's learning how to think for himself.  And using this newfound skill to test himself against me, to see how far I am willing to budge.  It is trying!

This evening at the beginning of our family rosary, he was in a mood.  He had been in one all day and I, being emotionally spent, had a short fuse.  When he decided to pound on the couch with his fist, I decided it was better to cut the rosary short and put the kids to bed than to loose my cool.  I sent Joseph to my room to wait for me, while I put everyone else to bed.  Then when I got back upstairs, I started to talk to him about his behaviour, and why it needed to change.

Something happened while I was talking with him, that I can only attribute to the grace of God.  I realized that, as much as I am learning how to parent him, he is only just learning too.  He has new thoughts and feelings coming up every day, and as he grows smarter he has so much more at his disposal for living life than he ever did before.  This is as new to him as it is to me, and we are in this together.

He needs to know this, and so I told him.  I asked him to be patient with me while I figure out how to be a Mom to an eight-year-old, and promised I would be patient with him while he learned how to be an eight-year-old himself.  He wanted to finish the rosary, so we did, and afterwards I prayed with him, thanking God for the gift that he is to me, and asking that he would give Joseph a grateful heart for the many good things that the has, and me a grateful heart for the beautiful little boy that he is.

We are all growing together.  Sometimes, there are growing pains.  But mostly, it's just beautiful.  And I can't think of anyone I would rather learn alongside with.

No comments :

Post a Comment