Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Lessons (re)Learned

One of the things that has amazed me after becoming a mother is the fact that some lessons we thought we learned as kids, we have to learn time and time again, even sometimes as adults.

An issue that my intense, oldest son Benjamin has been trying to figure out is the whole issue of authority and the fact that he can't always make other people do what he wants. After a particularly trying meal-time where he was not liking what we were eating for supper, he ran to the couch in a fit of frustration. After Scott told him he needed to come back and finish eating, he scowled and said, "Why do you always get to be the boss?" He also gets extremely frustrated when he can't make his sister Allison play the way he wants at the time he wants her to.

As an adult, I too have a struggle with that sometimes. Maybe I'm spoiled and have always pretty much had things go my way. Or maybe it's that I have a little higher opinion of my ideas or ways of doing things than I should, because it sure seems that my way is usually a pretty smart way of doing things. When other people don't see it my way it is extremely frustrating for me. Maybe that's why I liked being a teacher so much. I was the boss, and kids listened to me (or at least gave a pretty good attempt most days). I gave an assignment, they worked on it and turned it in (sometimes on time, sometimes 2 weeks late). I requested a meeting with the parents, they came in and we talked about their child (at least most of the time).

As I get older and have more experiences with life and people, I'm slowly learning that I don't get to be the boss all the time, much to my dislike! There are events that have happened that I wouldn't have chosen for myself. There are people that I would not pick to have interactions with. Even through my best efforts to train and discipline my children, they still act like self-centered little sinners some of the time. I'm learning that even though I have pretty good ideas about how things should work in my home and in my community, not everyone agrees with me all the time. And as much as I want to throw a temper tantrum and yell and scream and pound my fists and kick my feet, adults don't do that. We don't lose our temper and seek revenge on the people who dare to thwart us. Even though, deep down inside I really am throwing a fit.

Ultimately, I have to remember that I don't have all the best ideas, all the time (just most). And even if my idea is the best one, not everyone has to go along with me all the time. Things usually work out in the end no matter what. And at some point, I have to learn to let go of the constant desire to always get my way--just like Benjamin is learning right now at age four, and that Allison will have to learn as she gets bigger too. I know that learning to submit to authority is important, because if I can't do that with people on earth, how in the world am I going to that with God? I so want my children to understand God's sovereignty and authority and I'm the one who needs to be able to model that in my own life.

That's probably why God gives us so many chances to learn our lessons: so we can have that kind of mercy on our own kids and on those around us. I just pray God will help me to (re)learn sooner rather than later.


Anne said...

Good points, although to be totally fair....I was one of those turning assignments in 2 weeks late. I'd like to say it was on principle, but mostly due to a messy desk!

The Farmer's Wife said...

I'm a slow, slow learner and I think my kids are going to learn by watching me struggle, rather than at a good example. The pictures you used? That's me. And I'm NOT proud of it.

Do you remember The Authority Song, by John Cougar Mellencamp? It's such a cool song, when you're in your teens and twenties, but if you play it when your 4 and 2 year old are listening, you'll change your mind. The only thing that redeems it is the part that says, "When I fight authority, authority always wins" I like to sing that with EXTRA emphasis!!!

I'm so glad God works on us every day, and is gracious with our failings. Thanks for reminding me of that!

And, like Anne, my desk was always atrocious, but I usually got the assignments in on time because I was so competitive with a certain Murray boy....

The Farmer's Wife said...

LOVE the grain picture!

Kristin said...

I can so relate to Ben asking, "Why do you always get to be the boss?" That's something that I struggle with daily. Like you, Traci, that's one of the reasons that I love teaching. I tell my kids on the first day of school, "This is not a democracy. This is a benevolant dictatorship."

I did a Bible study a few years ago about submitting to authority. It was a real eye-opener. One of the points that you brought up was hammered home....If you are not submitting to authority figures, then how can you expect to submit to God.

It's hard...

Kathy said...

I love your blog! Is this the one we should read? Please keep posting the photos of the kids so we can keep up with them, and also your real life stories....makes me feel more normal! : ) Kathy