A couple of days ago, in response to my yes/no list, Bevy of Treasured up and Pondered asked me a thought provoking question. Rather than answer it in an email I decided it might be interesting to address it here, today. She asked me if I considered myself to be more of a yes mom or a no mom. Actually, she meant when the kids were little and I suppose things do change with the years but I'd have to say that really, I haven't in that area.
Larry and I found when the kids were young that by laughing much and loving much, the kids naturally wanted to please us. We expected them to do the right thing and made sure that they saw our delight when they did. Both of us are fairly calm by design which helped us not to over-react to accidents and mistakes. We used that to our advantage pairing teachable moments with smiles and hugs (not neglecting discipline when needed). Those were the easy years...
Thankfully, what was sown has taken root. With teens come temptations with larger consequences, peer pressure and conflict as they make more of their own decisions. Being confident in our balance of boundaries takes much more deliberate discussion and prayer. Many times our answer to, "can I go see such and such a movie with so and so?" has been difficult. It's hard being in the world and not of it when your world seems to have become entangled with what peers think. We've always offered our home as an alternative plan when we have to say no. Mostly they understand and are thankful, sometimes there's frustration. Our children love the Lord and are learning every day. If I still have more to learn in my late forties, I have to be empathetic as they work out their own understanding. No one is perfect but we do the best we can with what we understand. That really is all any parent has to offer.
So, yes or no? I'd have to say I'm infinitely more yes than no, but to parent well means knowing there is a time for each and when to say which. We say no more to movies and activities that promise to be dangerous to sweet souls, and yes more to people and opportunities.
Every day the Lord is growing us. Younger people may find it hard to believe that old people like me are still learning but there will always be room for improvement. So, I go back to the initial heart behind our parenting. Smile much and love much. While my kids are imperfect sinners (just like me), what I do see is young people (who make mistakes) with deepening roots who freely smile and love. If we did nothing else right... I'm calling that success.