This blog post is prefaced with a warning: the following is a rant. I'm on my soapbox because I've reached my limits on a couple of issues. I just need a place to vent. Nothing more.
So here it is....
Children are a GIFT from God. They are a blessing to be treasured. They are NOT a hindrance. They are not a burden. Yes, there are days I literally want to pull out my hair and I crave solitude to recharge my soul. This is NOT about staying home or working. It's not about sending them to school on a bus or having school on your living room couch or at the kitchen table. God leads you in YOUR direction on those areas and I make no judgment about what the decision is. What it is about is how you TALK about your children and how you act around them! I'm sick of listening to how parents refer to their kids. Guard your words. Your kids HEAR you. I'm so tired of facebook status updates that demean or belittle their kids. Even if they don't READ your words, they feel it in their hearts. Children aren't stupid----they are VERY sensitive individuals that know whether they are loved or not. Kids deserve respect. I'm overwhelmed by the number of parents that refuse to BE parents. I'm sickened by how many are BURDENED by the idea of having to take care of their kids for a few days because school is out and can't wait to put them back on the bus so they no longer have to "entertain" them. Having a very harsh winter and just finishing spring break in many areas had me reading post after post that broke my heart. So many parents REALLY didn't know their kids well enough to know how to interact with them during those few days. So many parents can't make a road trip without going insane being trapped in a vehicle with THEIR kids. Come on people-----kids are blessings to be treasured and time is fleeting! I GET being exhausted and overwhelmed. I GET not being able to complete a thought without interruption. I GET how nerves can be shredded with bickering, incessant needs of a toddler, or a colicky baby. I GET the need to have your own time. What I DON'T GET is the parents that feel like their kids are in their way or don't want the responsibility of taking care of them. Did they not realize they aren't puppies-----cute in the beginning but annoying at times later? Children ARE a treasure. There is no greater gift that God gives us. Yes, they take work. Yes, they at times break your heart. Yes, they ARE MESSY BEYOND belief. Don't treat them as the dirt beneath your feet. Embrace them. Interact with them. Love them. TEACH them values yourself----teachers in the school and even at church should not shoulder that responsibility. Yes, be their friend---but the parent role comes FIRST, ALWAYS! Treat them as if you value them and value THEIR presence in YOUR life. They ARE going to destroy things and make bad decisions. They ARE going to disrupt YOUR life. So what? Don't we deserve love and attention when we make our own mistakes or do something that is an inconvenience to someone else? What happens to OUR self-esteem and "love meter" when we are constantly pushed out of the way, ignored, or not shown value. I'll just leave it at that!
RESPECT your spouse! It doesn't matter if you think they are wrong or are not meeting your needs. Show respect. Your kids see how you treat each other and are learning how to either destroy their own marriages someday or how to make it thrive. Don't belittle your spouse----especially in a facebook status!!!! I'm so tired of reading "that good for nothing" did so-and-so. GARBAGE! Flip it and think how you would feel if you read something similar to that on YOUR spouses page about YOU! It's OK to be frustrated about an issue in your marriage, but there are HEALTHY ways of dealing with it and working through it. You loved your spouse enough to give your life to him/her in marriage------treat him/her as such. There are days that Kevin drives me crazy, and even MORE days that I make him insane, but belittling each other in private or public is NOT the way to heal the wound or solve the problem. If YOU want respect, SHOW respect. If YOU want love, SHOW love!
Don't praise someone publicly and treat them with disdain at home either. If your husband deserves praise on facebook, make sure you are saying it to him at home. Don't talk about how amazing he is publicly to give the "world" a happy front, but yet sit behind closed doors and treat each other with disrespect. It's just like if we talk to the world about how great our kids are, but then act like we can't stand their presence at home. Praising in public, but disrespecting in private is perhaps more damaging than never praising at all! I think we probably all have had people in our lives that treated us one way for the world to see and in a much less flattering way outside the public eye. Think about it. Didn't it feel like you were waiting for the knife to twist in your back. Didn't it make you wonder what was wrong with YOU to make you so unworthy of love and didn't it make you question motives? Our spouses, friends, and families deserve more. The "love" you see in public, read on facebook (status updates, comments, back and forth bantering) between Kevin and I is NOT fake. It's for him to see, read, and BELIEVE because he's that valuable. It isn't just for "the world". You better believe that what you see and read in public is the same thing that is happening at home. As a matter of fact, the "world" view is toned down.
Don't leave your spouse wondering what is wrong with them by treating them one way publicly and another privately. No Jekyll & Hyde complex. All three of my kids are STILL talking about an issue they witnessed awhile back and are still trying to process it in their hearts. Even the youngest one came home upset because they couldn't believe how someone was treating someone else with such disrespect yet claimed to "love" each other publicly. Even at 4, Bradlee KNEW there was something wrong with that picture. If a 4 year old can see it and feel it, imagine what the person in the actual relationship was feeling. Not only have they all expressed hurt for the individuals involved, but it has also trickled down to their level in regards to how they now question that person's motives in regards to themselves. Can't blame them! What we tend to forget at times is that children are watching each and every move we make and the attitudes that we have. It's very easy for them to take that upon themselves since they haven't developed good degrees of margin.
OK---there is my rant and my soapbox. It's been a long time coming and I tried for WAY too long to refrain. However, I reached my breaking point and had to blow. It happens!
It comes down to this. We aren't perfect. We mess up. We hurt people. I don't make it through a single day without saying or doing something that hurts my husband, my children, a friend, an acquaintance, a complete stranger or even myself. God loves unconditionally. He covers us in grace and forgiveness. He doesn't withdraw or shun. He LOVES. That's it simply put....He LOVES. Our children and our spouses deserve that from us as well. We can NEVER do it as well as Christ, but we should actively be trying to move closer and closer to that ideal every day. When I mess up, the last thing I want is someone to belittle me or show me disdain. I want to be immediately covered in their forgiveness. Our husbands and kids absolutely deserve that. It isn't easy at times, but they are worth the attempts.