Parenting

Learning to Rally

Defeat doesn’t finish a man. Quit does. A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits.

Richard Nixon

One of the hardest things about parenting is that our children are not like us. Preferences and temperaments do not align, which can lead to gaps in training particular children.

For me, one training gap was rallying. It never occurred to me to teach my sons to come back from defeat. Growing up—with few exceptions—I rallied. I got back up. I got back out there. I didn’t have a choice. At least it felt that way, and so, I thought rebounding came naturally. And it did to some family members.

How do you teach your kids to rally? I don’t know because I didn’t. But, I wish I had known or at least learned it along the way.

Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.

Wimston Churchill

Which parenting gap caught you unawares?

Decisions, Parenting

They Didn’t Do It All*

In 1998, I flew to Tennessee to celebrate my precious grandmother’s 88th birthday. On the plane, I decided to ask a great-aunt how she juggled raising two daughters with church and community responsibilities. I don’t know why I chose Aunt Dottie. I liked her, but we were not close. Maybe because she was kind, cheerful, patient, modest, long-suffering, and—as an empty nester—she had started a successful home business.

Great-Aunt Dottie (2000)

Our only time alone was driving Aunt Dottie to pick up fish dinners for the family meal. I vividly remember the exit of the restaurant parking lot where I started the conversation. More intensely, I remember Aunt Dottie’s answer and what it provoked: vindication and regret.

I didn’t take on additional responsibilities. None of the mothers did. We didn’t expect that of each other until our children were older.

Great-Aunt Dottie

I had wrongly accepted the unrealistic expectations of others and myself. Women have come a long way since Aunt Dottie’s child-raising days, but we have also regressed. I wish I had asked sooner.

Do you have an untapped source for advice?

*Edited and republished for the fourth anniversary of 100words.

Homeschooling, Parenting, Relationships

None of My Business

The most important advice I would give my younger writer self is what I’d give my younger woman self: What other people think of you is none of your business.

Anne Lamott, author

I’ve read this quote multiple times, and it still hits me the same way. “Of course” followed by “No way.”

I eventually have to remember that seeking advice and seeking approval are not the same. While I may need counsel, if I don’t need approval, then I don’t need to know if I have obtained it.

In the past, other’s opinions have paralyzed me or led me off course. Realizing that another’s approval or disapproval—of my parenting or my homeschooling or other aspects of my lifestyle—is none of my business is freeing.

These days, if I suspect my writing or actions will upset someone, I try to remember “What other people think of me is none of my business.”

Thank you, Anne.

Book Recommendations, Lies I Believed, Parenting

Lies I Believed: Parents Can Fix Their Children

Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

Matthew 6:9

One son held a grudge against a teacher. “Had I prayed with my son?” asked another teacher.

“Yes.”

“Had I prayed for him?”

“Yes.”

“Why wasn’t his attitude ‘fixed?'” she wondered. Maybe I hadn’t prayed enough.

“Had I encouraged another son who was shy?” asked a friend.

“Yes.”

“Perhaps he needs an incentive.”

“One morning, I offered a dime for every time he said ‘Hello.’ He declined.”

My friend wondered if there was another way to “fix” him.

I learned quickly I could not “fix” my sons. However, I felt guilty when I couldn’t, which probably meant deep down I thought I should.

It was decades later that I read The Lord’s Prayer by Thomas Watson. He begins by examining what it means for God to be our father.

God is the best Father in terms of Wisdom. He knows the fittest means to bring about his own design. … God is the best Father because he can Reform his children. God knows how to make his elect children better—he can change their hearts.

Thomas Watson, The Lord’s Prayer

Have you been expected to fix someone?

Parenting

A Kid Needs A Break

One thing I know for sure about raising children is that every single day a kid needs discipline…. But also every single day a kid needs a break.

Anne Lamott, Bird By Bird

I agree with Lamott, but I’ve seen the unfortunate consequences of parents regularly giving their children breaks. Who should?

My favorite answer is grandparents, but what if they aren’t available? Or best suited for the situation?

One night, my teen-aged nephew was speeding and was pulled by a police officer—who gave him a break.

I can give you a ticket, or you can call a parent to come here so we can talk.

A compassionate police officer

My nephew called my brother, who confiscated his keys and grounded him.

Years later, my nephew pulled a speeder. The driver was shaking and about to cry. My nephew said, “I’m going to do for you what someone did for me. I can give you a ticket, or you can call a parent to come here so we can talk.” She made the call.

I didn’t think to pray for people to give my sons breaks, but they received some crucial ones.

Do know children who need a break?