Sunday, January 31, 2010

Who did they get that from?

I think every expectant mother and father dreams of how their children will grow up. I know that while I was pregnant with all the children, Brenton and I used to talk about who they would look like, what mannerisms they would get from us, and would they get Brenton's intelligence or my caring spirit. I believe we all hope that we will pass on all of our best qualities, best abilities and our bests of the bests. And for the first 2.5 years of their little lives, it easy to see all the great things about our children. They are so cute, so funny, so loving, and they want to copy everything we say or do- who wouldn't love that? As they continue to grow and develop into their own little people, it starts to become more obvious of the not-so-great things that we've passed onto our children.
I think my children are the best, like most parents, but they have those moments when I look at them and cringe to know they got a "certain behavior" from me that is not-so- great. I think of Isabelle most often since she is a girl and I can most relate to her train of thought. When I was a child, I was spunky, independent, competitive (somethings never change), brutally honest, and sometimes down right mean. I think back to the way I treated some people or talked to them and wish that I could apologize for my immaturity and mostly insecurities. I have seen some of those same traits in Izzy that I once had and don't like. I try hard to break her of them before they bite her like they did me. I think I am overboard sometimes on making sure she sees how her "truth" or hurtful comments can affect other people. Here is an example:
The other night, our neighbors had us over for dinner. They had just returned home from a vacation in Mexico. They were so thoughtful to bring us all back a little gift. When our neighbor gave Izzy hers, she said without hesitation- "I don't want that" (then walked away).
I about had a heart attack right there. I immediately thought about how ungrateful her attitude was. Then I started to point the finger at myself wondering if I have some how trained her to receive gifts like that. Where were all those lessons in gratefulness, showing appreciation for things, and my endless teachings on manners? I started wondering if she got all the traits I didn't like about myself rather than all the ones I dreamed she would.
Guilt can creep in so quickly for parents, especially me. I made the choice to stay home and raise our children, so I wear the weight of how they act, talk, and treat others very heavily on my shoulders. I figure, if I am the one with them all day, then I can't point the finger at anyone by myself for their behavior or words. Maybe this is too much pressure, but it occupies my mind a lot.
So after talking with Izzy (again) about how to receive a gift, I pray the lesson from this situation has worked and that I won't have that- 'I want to crawl under the table and die' moment again with her. Thankfully we have very gracious neighbors.
I realize all our children will fail, make mistakes and embarrass us more times than I can count. And I realize those are the moments they learn from and hopefully will develop into the person they will be someday. I will hold onto the hope that when they have "arrived", some of those great qualities that we dreamed about passing down before they were here, will shine through and make us proud.

1 comment:

  1. Oh girl, I've been there! I'm starting to see traits in Rae that make me shudder because I know they came from me.
    As far as the gift thing goes, I was having that problem with Rae, too. I read a good idea somewhere to play a game a home where the kids take turns finding things around the house to give as gifts and "wrap" them up for each other. I play with Rae and we wrap things in blankets. I could be a kitchen spoon or a dirty sock, it doesn't really matter. Then part of the game is to 1.) say "Thank You" and then 2.) Make some sort of a compliment or say something nice.
    For example, "Oh, a sock! Thank you! I can use this to keep my feet nice and toasty." Or "Thank you for the spoon. I can tell you were being thoughtful because you know I love to eat!"
    Rae LOVES playing and it's paying off! :)


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