How hard could this be? I asked myself as I looked at the beautiful baby snuggled in my arms. Just a few moments before he was taken from right underneath my heart and placed in my hands. In my care. Already, I loved him. Already I wanted the best for him. Raising J was gonna be a piece of cake.
✓ Clothes on his back ✓ Feed him ✓ Send him to school and at 18, off on his own he will go off into the world to be the man God called him to be. Right? Uh, Wrong! There is so much more to parenthood than necessities. There is so much between birth and 18. There are smiles, frowns, heartaches, struggles, successes, failures, and triumphs! Parenthood for sure has taught me (the hard way), there is more to life, than me.
I don’t remember having so many distractions such as the internet, a cell phone, an iPod, a television in my room, - a television at my disposal whether or not it was in my room with 200 channels to flip idly through. I didn’t have a Mommy-guide at my complete disposal either. I rush around picking him up, dropping him off, arranging every detail of his life. Why in the world did I honestly think I could get him to think and make good choices, when he never had to? I made all the decisions and then told him what to think. He had it made with life at his disposal. Shoes too big for a kid. Hello Mom!! Everything is not supposed to be for him, but for his benefit!
It took me a long time to understand that J was his own person. No matter how much I wanted to see him walk down the right path, I couldn’t force it on him. Nor do it for him. Or bribe him the entire way. J had his own mind. The only thing I can ever change is my reaction. I introduced accountability into our household. For every action, I gave him a set standard of reactions. A=B, always, and without exceptions. We taped them to the fridge. If A was a positive action then so was B, and vice versa. I cannot begin to tell you how much that freed me. I no longer had to bear the burden of punishing him. He knew the consequences, he punished himself and it had nothing to do with me. Can you say sigh of relief?
There are times I may have made a mountain out of a molehill of, but at the time, did I know it was a molehill? The two can get very confusing when it's all unknown terrain and you don’t have a handy dandy manual in your pocket. All I know is that I wanted my child to be perfect. To be successful one day. I want him to be a great mountain of a man one day. So I pushed him. I pushed him just as hard as I push myself. When he failed to meet the expectations that I never fully discussed and agreed upon with him, I felt as though I failed too. I took it personally and we both crashed. I have since learned that I can revel in his successes with him. I can hold his hand and comfort him when he fails. That is all Mommy can do. A man must learn to how to deal with failure on his own. We talk about what made him succeed in a particular endeavor, so he will know what works. We talk about what made him fail a particular endeavor, so he will know what doesn’t work. We talk about everything. The doors to Communication are now open.
You know what helps me the most in all my Trials of Raising a Man? Knowing and accepting I cannot live J’s life for him. I cannot do everything for him. I cannot think for him or he will never be able to think for himself. Giving him the answer is so much easier and less time consuming for me than guiding him to find it on his own. However, it is my job to think long term as to what is best for him. If I do not teach him the survival skills necessary to live in a changing world for sure he will fail, and Mommy-guide may not be there to fix it. This world will not love him as much as I do. The world won’t hold him close and become excited over his heartbeat every day. He must learn to look to me for comfort and look towards the world when it’s time to conquer. He must learn how to fail and try again until he succeeds. Trust his own judgment and lean on God with all he believes.
Yes, J really is a fantastic kid! I am humbled to be his Mom. I thank God for choosing me to be his guide on this journey called life. I am enjoying my role so much more now that we have finally figured this Mother and son thing out.
Here’s all the manual you need: Proverbs 22: 6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
(but have a guide to find his way back!)