Parenting Is the Lifelong Personal Growth Opportunity

Moms and dads don't need to sign up for personal growth classes because our "education" goes on and on. On the other hand, some don't quite get it. Right?

Picture the scene: the Misses Clothing department of a large suburban store.

I was  looking through a sale rack when a nicely-dressed, thirtyish woman in stiletto heels came up. She was pushing a stroller at a leisurely pace, in which sat a boy, maybe age 2 1/2.  He was in mid-meltdown.

She parked the stroller, then began serenely flipping through the rack next to me. SoBlog. Unhappy boy in stroller. 11.12on the little prisoner's screams reached a decibel level sufficient to attract the attention of everyone within 30 feet of them.

And it did.

The woman appeared oblivious and unhurried. During the next ten minutes or so she worked the racks. By now the boy's screams had settled into a continuous low-level roar, punctuated by whimpers.

Through it all she kept up a running line of questions, using one of those I-don't-really-expect-an-answer voices. "You've been so good all morning, Nelson. Why did you suddenly decide to be bad now? ... Why do you think that is, Son? ...  Nelson, explain to me, please, why you've been good for so long and now you're being bad. ... Can you tell Mommy why, Nelson?"

After awhile they meandered on, the boy still yelling, the mother seeming not to notice.

All day I thought about that pair, sorry for the child, sad for the mom

Before long I remembered some of the countless times I was clueless when our daughters were growing up. (I'm sure their list is longer than mine.)

That's life. We all get caught up in situations and stumble through, doing the best we can with what we know at the time. I think it's called being human.

Fact: Moms have to shop, often with kids in tow. Not many children delight in sitting still in a stroller any time, anywhere. Especially for hours. Especially for shopping-with-Mom excursions. Period.

As parents we get so focused on our "must do" stuff that we forget little people are, well, little. 

Sometimes it helps to offer a "carrot on the stick," a reward at the end

(Could we label that "incentive" rather than "bribe"? Thank you.)  

Be sure to set up the conditions of your verbal contract and clearly state what's expected from both parties. Get their agreement before you start.

For example, if you must take everyone along on a shopping trip, tailor your outings and times to the tolerance levels of your young companions. Don't routinely take advantage by overstaying or your children won't believe you.

The deal is when they do their part, you live up to your promise. If they don't, you don't--and vice versa. 

Otherwise you'll be teaching them how to manipulate people, especially you.

Rearing kids remains a continuing lesson in humility   

We think we have all the answers. Or we should have. Yet we keep on learning we don't.    

Count that as a blessing, a necessary stretching that keeps us flexible. For life. And that's a very good thing. 

Here's a Bible verse that fits every family situation, whatever stage of parenting you may be in.  

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.   1 Peter 4:8 

Have a happy ... every day of your life and God bless you!











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