I wrote the other day about putting things in perspective. It is so easy to get off track and focus on the negative rather than the positive. I had a moment this weekend that allowed me to put things in perspective. I get frustrated with my oldest daughter sometimes because she acts as if I am her personal ATM (any parent of a teenager can relate to that). She likes to be involved in several activities but does not consider the financial burden, the time it requires, the level of committment each activity requires or how it can prevent or alter the ability for her siblings to participate in activities they like. She was talking to me about archery classes for the summer and of course my first thought was, “how much is this going to cost me?”
I was looking at Facebook over the weekend and saw a family of teenage girls she was in diapers with. I believe the oldest about 17 and the youngest I guess 13 or 14. I went through their pictures and saw them throwing up gang signs claiming to be a part of one, the youngest is said to be pregnant (according to her sisters post), the middle appears to be confused about her sexuality, and all of their mouths were filthy. All of them are friends with their mother on Facebook, which made my mouth drop more because there is no shame. It hurt me to see them because as I said they and my daughter were in diapers together.
After looking through all I could take before bursting in tears, I paused and began to reflect. First I asked God to protect them while they went through these stages. Then I began to thank God for his mercy and grace he has shown me thus far in my children’s lives. When I consider the alternative, I will take my daughter wanting to be involved in sports and activities, spending all my money, being an honor roll student, and staying out of trouble any day. Looking at where my daughter could be put everything in perspective; quit tripping about the simple things because it could be so much worse…$65 is a small price to pay.
As parents, we become frustrated so easily because our children are not doing what WE feel they SHOULD be (i.e I think she should be more considerate of her siblings). However, we fail to remember what they COULD be doing and thanking God that they are not. Although they may not be where we want them to be (which may not align with what God wants by the way), we have to acknowledge that it could be worse.
Parents, I challenge you this week when you become frustrated with what your child isn’t doing, instead of blowing up about it, take a moment to tell them what they are doing right. I’m talking to myself too. The 30 and under group has so much working against them, so if they can push through and do something positive they MUST be celebrated. Positive affirmations go a long way.
I’m grateful that God hasn’t given me what I deserve (reap what you sow) and I pray everyday that it remains. If that’s not a reason to be thankful and change my perspective then I don’t know what is.