Posts Tagged With: courage

Practice Makes Perfect

Some days I feel like my kids have two volumes: loud and super LOUD. Most days I feel like they have two speeds: fast and out of control. And occasionally I just feel like I can’t keep up.

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I honestly can’t remember at what point I lost it. It might have been after the explosion of chokecherry syrup all over the floor. It could have been between the “Mom, can I hold the baby?” “But I asked first!” and the “But Mo-om, I didn’t get to yet!” fight that never seems to take a break. Or maybe it was when I walked in their room to find the freshly folded laundry piles I’d hoped they would put away scattered hither and yon. It really could have been when I glanced down into the family room to witness our two-year-old Evil Keneviling it from the top of our futon to the couch 6 feet away. Or during the pillow fight that ended abruptly with bonked heads and two boys in tears. But no matter when it happened. Fact is, it did. I lost it.

IMG_1690Countless times since becoming a mom I have found myself praying for more patience. Begging that I won’t go crazy, and asking for forgiveness for those all-too-often times I do. Some days after negotiating with a non-negotiable two-year-old and pleading for a truce between two brothers that know exactly which buttons to push on each other leaves me completely exhausted. I pray for patience. For what to say, what to do, how to put out this fire or that.

I pray wanting a solution, a quick fix. But Heavenly Father must know that practice makes perfect because my answer often comes in that form: a chance to try again. And again, and again, and again, and again.

He answers me with that quiet prompting, “pick yourself back up. Keep on trying, you can do it. Practice makes perfect! You’ll get it one of these days.” And I step back in the ring.

Motherhood is a choice you make every day, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is…and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.” –Donna Ball

It’s so easy to feel like we do everything wrong. Over and over again. It’s so hard to forgive ourselves, to pick ourselves back up and practice that patience we so desperately want and need. But someday, if we just keep trying, I think we can get it right. And it’s my prayer every day that my kids won’t be too much worse for the wear because I had to practice so much.

In those moments that I just can’t keep up, I am always grateful for the chance to try again. I’m so thankful that children are forgiving. Most of all, I’m thankful that I have been given this great opportunity to practice patience on four amazing little boys. Boys that have two volumes and two speeds. Sometimes I feel like they give me more than my fair share of opportunities to give it another go. But then I get that quiet nudge, “practice makes perfect! Pick yourself back up. Keep trying,” and I remember I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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Categories: little boys, Motherhood | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Preparing our Children for the Weather of Life

Monday Morning R, our six-year-old, slipped on his jacket and sneakers, grabbed his backpack, and dashed down the driveway to catch the bus. 60 balmy degrees. The sun was shining, beautiful fall leaves of red, yellow and brown still hung high in the branches above. As the bus rumbled away, I looked into the sky and saw a dark cloud looming over the mountains. “Boy,” I thought to myself, “I’m glad I talked him out of wearing shorts today! It just might get a little chilly later.” And chilly it got. Within an hour of the bus screeching to our stop fall had all but been dashed to oblivion and winter had boldly taken stage. Temperatures dropped 30 degrees almost instantly and snowflakes as big as ping pong balls fluttered down from the sky. And there my little boy sat in his first grade classroom totally unprepared for what waited outside those big, red doors. His light spring jacket was certainly no match for this winter storm.

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As the two younger boys and I signed in at the front office to bring more suitable clothes for their brother, Mrs. R came over the intercom. “Inside recess today! Make sure to come in winter gear tomorrow so you can play outside!” “Oh good. I’m not the only neglectful mom who failed to check the weather,” I sighed in relief. As I drove back home, I thought about how our family theme this year is to be organized and prepared. Thoughts of preparedness and being more organized filled my mind. I failed at sending R off to school prepared for the winter weather, but what about the weather of life? Had I helped to equip him with the skills he’d need to face the world?

Would he know what to do when someone was being left out? What to say when he needed to stand up for what was right? How to encourage a friend? Stand down from a fight? Had I prepared him for times when friends and peers would say inappropriate things? For moments when he would be the only one with certain beliefs and feel so alone? When friends would tease him or choose to no longer play with him because of his clothes, his freckles, his backpack…the principles he values and holds dear?

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Had I prepared him, taught him, helped him to know?

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Had I said “I love you” enough? Does he know that he matters, he’s important, he’s kind and unique? Does he know that no matter what happens out there, he has a family who thinks he’s wonderful and a Father in Heaven that knows him and loves him more than he can imagine?

Did I prepare him for school today?

It’s my fervent prayer each morning that I have. That when the storms rage and the weather quickly turns, that I’ve helped to equip him with all he needs. Physically, emotionally, spiritually.

How do you prepare your children for the storms of life? I’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts!

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Categories: children | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

With the Courage of a Child

Every year our church has what we call “the Primary Program.” It’s an opportunity for all of the children (ages 3-11) to share with the congregation what they have learned throughout the year and sing the songs that have become near and dear to them.

Last fall, R, having just turned five, had come up with his part all on his own and had recited it over and over. His little one-liner memorized, the songs etched in his heart, he had all appearances of being not only ready, but eager to share with the congregation what he felt and had learned.

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The day finally came, and I could feel him tremble as he grasped my hand to be escorted to his seat with his friends at the front. As I walked back to our bench, I turned to see his face full of panic and anxiety. His sweet teacher leaned in to him and gave him a hug, and I remember trying to comfort myself with the thought, “His teacher will help him, he’ll be fine!” The program began, and so did R’s silent tears. I could almost hear his trembling voice as the children sang. His teacher patted his back, gave him little hugs, but to no avail. I saw her lean in and ask him a question which I imagine had something to do with going back down to sit with his family. Tears still streaming, he shook his head decidedly no. My heart strings were pulling in every direction. He had practiced so hard! If only God would grant him the fortitude to make it through. His turn came, and slowly he walked to the microphone. “I can show my love to Heavenly Father by serving others and being a good example to my brothers.” His voice was only a whisper. I could tell I was not the only one crying as I heard sniffles across the chapel. The darling lady sitting behind me comfortingly squeezed my shoulder. Inside my mind I prayed. “Thank you, Heavenly Father, for granting him courage!”

As the program ended, numerous people approached me about R’s bravery. They were in awe as much as I was at the determination that little five-year-old boy had shown. Clearly he’d stolen the show.

A few Sundays ago the children stood again at the front of the congregation. Little R’s face beamed with pride as he sang the songs, and when his turn came, he proudly spoke into the microphone. Relief and happiness swept over me.

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“I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me…” the children sang. My thoughts were filled with the previous year’s memories, and I was overcome with amazement of the love and courage that had been granted to a nervous five-year-old boy. Such a simple act, but his tears had touched everyone watching.

I hope we can all find that courage a little child found many Sundays ago through God’s loving grace. When we turn to Him, so much is possible.

Categories: children, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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