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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Getting to the Core of Mothering

I woke at 5:30 this morning. My alarm didn't go off; I just woke on my own. I was so happy about this. My goal is to be up and moving before my children are. If they wake before me, I feel that I'm already behind in the game.  Lately I've been waking at 4:30 just to get ahead. It's been pretty lovely.

This morning, I got up, got dressed and washed my face. By 6:00, I was downstairs at my desk and computer to read the scriptures. This is the pattern I try to follow every morning lately.

I sat down, opened the laptop and decided to take a stop at Facebook first. I have a friend who went into surgery the other day for breast cancer, and I wanted to check in on her first thing to see how she's doing. She's been on my mind.

I got to her page. My eyes just happened to glance at the pictures of her friends. It was then that I noticed something wasn't right. One of her friend's names was "nielynn." What? The can't be right! I turned my head and found that it wasn't "nielynn," it was "Jennielynn." Uh oh! I'm in trouble! I knew I was destined for a KILLER headache. I have only experienced this kind of optical disturbance with my very worst migraines--less than ten times in my life. It's almost like there's some kind of blockage in my line of vision. My eyes will not focus on everything I'm seeing.

I went upstairs, took an Excedrin and laid down on my bed. No headache yet--just a pressure in my eyebrows.

I asked the Warden to wake the middle schoolers. They don't leave for school until 8:40, so I typically let them sleep a little longer than the others. I actually make them responsible to wake themselves at this point. If they miss their ride, they can figure out how to get to school. I figure they are old enough to do this and high school is just around the corner. I want them to learn from their mistakes before things really start to matter.

The middle school-aged kids came into my room, and I gave them options of how they could help the most. By this time, my eyes were freaking out, my brain was dizzy even just laying here, and I felt extremely nauseated. #6 was sent for a "puke bowl." I took another Excedrin (two pills were now on board--a pretty rare occurrence).

One of the jobs that was taken on by one of the middle schoolers was to wake one of the younger brothers. This is not an easy job--some of my kids just sleep harder than others.

Next thing I know, I hear unhappiness downstairs. The middle schooler had taken the job of waking younger brother VERY seriously and was determined to do whatever it took to wake him. It was clearly going too far.

I called younger brother up to talk to me and share what had transpired. He did. I didn't like the tactics middle schooler had resorted to and am sure middle schooler wouldn't have liked the same thing being done in the same situation, so I asked to have a little chat with that child.

As I spoke to middle schooler, the thought occurred to me that I needed to share a portion of my parenting philosophy with that child. Funny thing is that until I wanted that child to act as my agent, I didn't realize just how often this thought occurs to me in my interactions with my children. After I shared it, I found that this is my foundation as a mother. This is part of my core beliefs. This is why I interact with my children the way I do.

It's found here (read the highlighted portion--in other words, venture down the page a ways).

Here are a couple of additional thoughts on this....."Betimes" means early on, or I think of it as as soon as you see it's a problem--get on top of it; deal with it. In other words, don't ignore things. "Unfeigned" means not faked; genuine; sincere. "Reprove" means to rebuke, or basically call the error to the person's attention. In my mind, to "reprove with sharpness" means to be very straightforward not mincing words but getting to the core of the issue.

This scripture, in the very first highlighted verse says, "the priesthood." I, to be honest, kind of ignore that part because I think this principle holds true for anyone in their interactions with others. This is how we should deal with anyone and everyone, but most particularly with our children--those who are closest to us that we sometimes take for granted.

So, this morning, I read this passage to the middle school child. I shared that there must be persuasion (not force) because every human being has his/her right to choose, but in choosing, there are always consequences and those consequences seem to follow the kind of choice that was made--bad follows bad and good follows good. It's just kind of how life works.

I also shared that with that persuasion there must be patience and long-suffering. Our challenge is to be patient and gentle with every person that we come in contact with. That must be our focus.

After all was explained, younger brother was called upstairs. I persuaded middle school child to follow what the scripture said, to "show forth an increase of love." An apology was uttered and accepted and the challenge was given to middle school child to be patient and long-suffering in the future.

It seems strange to me that until I had to share it, I didn't realize just how much I lean on these words. Now that I've shared it with my middle schooler,  I see that I don't think there's a day that goes by that some part of this passage doesn't pop into my head.

As I've been writing this, middle schooler has walked younger brother to school. When he returned, I asked him if he was "patient" and "long suffering." He reported that he was. Phew!

My vision is still strange and the headache portion has emerged, but it's nice to know that at least one of my children is prepared a little better to act as my agent with a little more patience, gentleness and long-suffering.

I've heard people say that children don't come with an instruction manual, but you know what, I think they're wrong.

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