Monday, April 30, 2012

Portrait of Neglect

A few Christmases ago, we got these bulbs as a gift from our neighbor.  We planted them and they bloomed.  After that year, we moved the bulbs to a larger pot, just to see what happened.  Since then,  they have been in pot by our garage through long hard winters and water restricted summers with us doing nothing at all for them.  And year after year, they bloom.  They bloom magnificently!  I was tempted to move them out front so the world would get to see them, but I decided that they will stay where they are so I can look at something so grand each time I come and go and come and go and come and go with the kids.  
Speaking of kids, this little flower got me to thinking, am I doing too much for my kids? (YES!)  I surely do not advocate the kind of neglect this flower has been subjected to, but rather allowing them to navigate situations where failure is an option for the sake of building resourcefulness, responsibility,  and character. That almost sounds like a mission statement.  Can't you see it on a fancy poster?  Kid putting away his toys without a fuss.  Mom peeking her head in the room with a smirk of satisfaction on her face and a fresh manicure on her nails because with such responsible kids, she has time for such things.  The caption, "As a parent, I will allow my children to navigate situations where failure is an option for the sake of building resourcefulness, responsibility and character."  

I will be straight with you.  That is NOT the picture at my house!  Don't get me wrong. I have good kids.  Great kids.  But they could improve in some areas.  For instance, my daughter is the messiest of the messy.  I ask her to pick up.  She cries.  My head spins in exorcism fashion as steam billows from my ears and idle threats spew from my lips.  So, to avoid the situation above and the headache that follows, I repeatedly clean up their messes.
My son refuses to learn to tie his shoes.  I explained that ball players need to know this because moms are not allowed to dash onto the field to tie a shoe.  His response, "One of my team mates will do it for me!"  And then, I tie his shoe!  I repeatedly deliver their forgotten items to school.  I repeatedly get frustrated with them (and myself) when I ask them to do something and they protest because they are used to having it done for them.   I could put the blame on them, but really, the blame falls on me.  Out of lack of self discipline and love of convenience,  I have placed too much responsibility on myself and not enough on them.  And there is the irony of it all.  Placing more responsibility on myself is convenient???  No, that is just plain stupid.  And I don't like stupid, soooooo, I am going to work on having the discipline to weather some storms and endure some resistance with the greater goal of producing responsible, resourceful, thankful, beautifully blooming children!   Ummm, wish me luck!


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