Tuesday, October 04, 2016

On being shy, communication, disagreement and the next generation

We're one month into 3's preschool. The anticipation has worn and it's routine now. We are thankful for routines, they keep us steady. I have to be honest this school year has brought with it far too much anxiety on my part that I'm sure is unnecessary. It's in my fleshy nature to want to know how I can control the situation and how I can maximize every opportunity to it's greatest potential. This fall has been an exercise in submitting my control and in general, relinquishing the fact that I cannot make the day any more profitable for my children than what it will be without one key factor-prayer. 

Both of my children are introverted when they are not in their comfort zone. They take a long time to warm up to people. Even family members that they see regularly sometimes feel that the twins don't "like" them because they will not talk to them. I always have to put my best foot forward when going into public situations with my kids and remind myself not to talk for my children or do things for them just to avoid awkward situations or to avoid people thinking that my kids are so rude for not saying a word to them. At some point I have to just get over that and be ok with the fact that my kids are who they are and they will learn to socialize as they watch their dad and I socialize and not be spending our time always apologizing for them; I don't know how healthy that is for their self esteem. The truth is that's not all that they are and that's not the message I want to send to their little consciences. The truth is that they are very friendly little people who are incredibly loving and interested in how life works for others. They have many words to ask these questions and express their love for others when in the comfort of their own homes; somehow we need to help their small 3 year old world expand into sharing those words and that love to those around them more openly when it's appropriate. The mind of a child is like a sponge. It soaks up everything you show them and verbalize to them about themselves. If I tell a child's teacher, grandparent, friend all of the time that he/she is shy, the child begins to believe that about him/herself. If this being "shy" is painted in a light that is negative and as unacceptable then the child soon begins to believe that his/her personality is not likable and is not useful. How sad. I do not want to do that to my kids. 

The power of example is huge for children. Children will listen to our lives far better than they will listen to our words as a parent. So while it will be important for my husband and I to continue to encourage our twins verbally to "use their words" with their friends, teachers, and family, it will be far more important for us to show them how good conversation happens. Even how good disagreement happens. This one is a sticky one for me. I do not do well with disagreement; I never have. I don't like confrontation and I do not like when one person confronts another in my presence. I am not naive enough to believe that disagreement never happens. No, disagreement needs to happen in some cases. In many cases disagreement is the beginning of renewal and renovation of something that was broken. We need disagreement but we need to know how to do it well and we need to know how to display it well for the next generation so that they can know how to solve rather than create more problems. Fighting with cruel words and undercuts or constantly putting yourself or another up on a pedestal and cutting down the person you're in conflict with is not the way. We have to be willing to try to see things from another's view point before we can make real change. Sometimes you are the one who needs to be willing to change and your kids need to be able to see humility. This doesn't mean being a doormat but rather a doorway. Being open to the idea of change and if that change happens to mean that you need to get flexible or be willing to do something differently then we need to be open to the idea. There will be times when we cannot agree and we may need to walk away from it. Not in anger or harshness but just trusting that God will lead you in the way you should go. 

As a nation we are on the verge of a very controversial election with many opinions about how things should be done and who should lead and why. There is the fight for women, the fight for the underprivileged, the fight for the rich, the fight for the layman, the fight for the sexually confused, the fight for the wall the fight against the wall, the fight for Isreal, the fight to stay out of Isreal. With all of these fights and so many more what are we to do? Curl up in a ball and close our eyes until it's over and just accept whatever wave of change happens? I would like to suggest that like all of my anxiety over my 3 year old's preschool and all of their schooling years to come tossing over me in waves, prayer needs to be our place of trust. We may not understand the candidates in this election or the screams of culture swirling around us but we can know that God that made us and made this world. He has a plan and He hasn't given up on that plan. Yes it may not make much sense to us right now but does that matter? We are finite, he is infinite. So let us pray, let us vote, then let us parent this generation of children to know God by following Him with our lives. 

God is great, and greatly to be praised. He can be trusted. Read with me Nahum 1:6-8 

"God is good,

    a hiding place in tough times.
He recognizes and welcomes
    anyone looking for help,"