Monday, September 09, 2013

Raising this Generation

Being a parent is hard.

When they're infants, you're tired.

When they're toddlers, you want to tear your hair out.  And you're tired.

When they get into school you start to relax.  And then the first time they get in trouble, or they get into a fight with a friend, or you hear them say a word that they shouldn't but you also know that they heard from you... you realize that parenting just became the hardest.  Because now you aren't just trying to keep them alive.  Now you have to mold their character.  And you're still tired.  

And it's not just your own child's character that you're responsible for... you are part of parenting a generation that is eventually going to be in charge.  

I have to be honest... I SERIOUSLY worry about the generation that we are currently raising.

A generation that demands instant gratification.  

A generation that thinks that they should be rewarded just for participating, and that there is no such thing as healthy competition.

A generation that thinks they are the best at everything because they get a trophy even when their team hasn't won a single game that season.

A generation that doesn't know how to spell because they think everything will be autocorrected.

A generation whose parents come running to their rescue, believing them over the adult that is saying otherwise.

A generation whose schedules completely dictate family life.

A generation that doesn't know how to entertain themselves because they are constantly being entertained.

Last year Beau had an amazing teacher that made it clear to the parents that her number one goal was that at the end of the year the students would be kind, considerate children.  Book skills were secondary to life skills.  And I so appreciated it.  

We had an incident this year.  My son has a cell phone ONLY because he rides his bike to school and I make him call me when he gets there so that I know he made it.  He has the cheapest cell phone we could get him.  Most of the kids at his school have iPhones.  First graders have iPhones.  It's ridiculous.  

Long story short, he woke up on the wrong side of the bed one morning and he took it out on a friend, sending him a nasty text that was neither kind nor considerate.  The mom of the friend called me that afternoon to talk to me about it.  I could tell she was super nervous to bring it up, and probably expected me to get defensive.  But, while my son is generally a very sweet kid, I know that we all have bad days, and I knew that he had been super grumpy that morning.

So I apologized, thanked her for calling me, asked her to forward me the text, and told her that Beau would have consequences.

I think I surprised her a little bit. I think she expected me to get defensive.  But how do you defend bad behavior, even when it comes from your normally sweet child?

Beau was playing at a friend's house when I got this call, so I called him and told him that I knew about the text and I was on my way to get him.  He knew he was in trouble.

When he got in my car he burst into tears.  Not because he was in trouble, but because he knew that he had hurt his friend.  And there was my sweet boy.

We ended up having a wonderful conversation about mistakes, forgiveness, and consequences.  It was an opportunity that I could have missed had I chose to jump to his defense.  We all make mistakes.  It's important for our children to learn how to fix them and move forward.

Beau ended up writing his friend one of the kindest letters I have ever seen.  It was way better than what I would have come up with.  He called his friend and read him the letter, and his sweet friend gave him grace and accepted his apology. 

And then the best thing happened.  The thing that started to restore my faith in the parents of this generation.  The friend's mom sent me a text saying how much the letter meant to her son, and how much he valued his and Beau's friendship, and it was clear to me that not only had his friend forgiven him, but the friend's mom had also extended grace to my son.  I find it easier to forgive people when they hurt me, and harder to forgive when they wrong a loved one, so I really appreciated her willingness to recognize that my son had had a bad day.

I will keep on fighting for us to bring this generation into reality.

I will keep telling Beau to count his jog-a-thon laps even when the school says they can't {I don't think they understand the point of a jog-a-thon... they miss the a-thon part}.

I will not let my kids beat me at games {although Beau usually does anyway}.

I will teach my children that when they commit to something they will do it, even if they don't really feel like it anymore. 

But I will screw up sometimes too.  Because like I told my son, we all make mistakes.  And then I will use those mistakes to teach my children more lessons.  

And I will be the most embarrassing mom ever.  

And my job will be done.

6 comments:

  1. REALLY good post. Thanks for your perspective and challenge!

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  2. I love this post. My son isn't old enough yet to deal with most of these topics but I hope that we will handle them similarly when they do come up. However I do have high hopes for this generation of parents (us!) that we will recognize the benefits of sometimes losing and being able to tell our kids no and putting family first! I see lots of inspiring blog and Instagram posts that keep me encouraged (including you!)

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  3. I'm thinking you must have an amazing mother yourself! �� Did you see my blog on Proverbs 22:6. This morning? Check it out! We were on the same wavelength!

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  4. This post totally made my day. I love the grace and love that was extended by everyone in your story. It warms my heart to see that. I'm not a mom yet (still believing!), but tuck gems like this post away for the future with my kiddos.

    Hannah
    hannahbunker.com

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  5. LOVE this post! We've been struggling with some tough stuff with my oldest who is in Jr.high. A lot of what we are dealing with is "normal" Jr high stuff and some is not.But I will tell you a lot of the added problems to it are from this generation and it is frightening!
    We are just trying to do our best and what we think is right, and let me tell you we are not the norm!

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