Sunday, February 8, 2015

Winning Authority

My new conversation starter for twenty-something adults, who work in retail and the food industry, is to ask them what their dream job is.  It lights up their eyes, usually, and I've seen extra signs of life after asking this question; some have lifted their head a bit, clicked off their phone, pulled back a shoulder or two, and some have even made eye contact and gone into a long explanations as to what their plans and dreams are for their life.  Then, I have try to encourage them in their vision for their life. This past week, the only one who didn't have vivid plans was the register clerk at Moe's Southwest Grill.  He wanted to run a business one day, not sure what kind, didn't quite care where or how, but just to be able to tell people what to do.  He wanted authority. 

The past week or two I have been working on winning back the authority of parenting our kids.  I have been down and out, up and down since October, and have not really been at peak strength since last May.  Either because of hospitalizations or illness, nannies or holidays, new staff or a lack of consistency in leadership, all areas have greatly effected the status quo of our home.   I was daunted by the prospect that I would now have the weight of the household back on my shoulders and even more so, the great task of leading the children. However, I have been refreshed by the fruit my consistency this the past week.  My strong voice gave a consistent "Yes or No" in parenting and the segments of time I had alone with each child were precious. I could read them books in funny voices and my poor Spanish pronunciation, held down the fort while Mike had several long days this week and just completed a call weekend, and was able to communicate to the children without being swayed by a sudden out-bursting tantrum.  Not only was I not swayed but I was not even shaken or upset by it, it wasn't even allowed in my kitchen.  I noticed the respect well up in them as I continued in consistency and firm fairness. 

My best learning of how to get back into parenting our children was during the two-week winter break.  Mike had time off (miraculously), parented so well, gave many examples and prayers that it was simple for me to follow the groundwork that he had laid during that time.  I listened to him teach the children, better than I ever could, in the car, at home, play their instruments with them, not take any crap from their little conniving, and during all that time I did not have a voice to "chime-in" as I usually would have, so listening to his full thoughts at each teachable moment was a college course in parenting our kids, for me. I'm very grateful for his beautiful role in our family.

So, when Sebastian says in the Little Mermaid, "You give them an inch, they swim all over you," he wasn't kidding.  I am flexible with visions and passions for what they want to create but when it comes to actual authority and laying out the framework of expectations, they are thriving now on the routine.  David heard Naomi practicing viola this morning, and walked right by me saying, "I have to get to my piano practice." Our amazing 1st grade teacher is encouraging the parents to resist the "mother-hen tendency" so rather than saying, "get your coat, lunch, shoes, backpack, etc." I just say to get in the car.  It's totally working.  I'm incredibly grateful. 

Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart. Proverbs 29:17

This is a significantly positive contrast from when the nanny was bribing them to brush their teeth with Mentos.