30 June 2013, by Evelyn Tan
It was just timely that recently I was introduced to this great read entitled ‘Grace-based parenting’ because I had found myself to be really short-tempered these days and getting really impatient with the kids easily !
Contrary to the belief that with grace-based parenting philosophy, kids are allowed to walk away scot free from their mistakes because parents are always ready to give second, third and fourth, fifth, …… chances (you get my drift) , the book helped me see how when parents operate out of love in their interactions with their children it can bring about children who grow up righteous and being secure in love and self-worth .
It shares many interesting parenting scenarios which we can identify within our daily routine such as endless compromise on the part of parents to endure the “wilies” of their children; how we could ensure that no offense committed goes unpunished but at the same time it is gentle enough to allow second chances and freedom for the child’s individuality & personality to blossom under the loving guidance of parents.
For starters, the author quoted an idiosyncrasy that his daughter had when she was a little girl — taking off her shoes at every opportunity there was! For many parents the chore of having to find those shoes and then put them on for their child again (for the umpteenth time that day!) is bound to get them started on another pep talk on the importance of being responsible for your personal effect, etc……. but not for the kindergarten teacher of this little girl! Many years after this little girl had graduated, she once revisited the kindergarten again and from the way that teacher fondly recalled those episodes when they have to go in search for her shoes, you would actually believe she had ‘a kick’ doing that all those years!
When I came to this part of the book, it was like a flood gate opened and I was convicted that in all my good intentions and love for my children, I could have perhaps sent out certain signals to them that would have worked against all that love that I was trying to send them (especially in these recent weeks when my temper fuse is incredibly short for reasons I do not even know!) Like when they were just being playful (and I was feeling tired after a day’s of work or looking after them) and messed up the cupboard playing “dress -up” to humour their dad and I…… Or those occasions when what they did ‘wrong’ was not of any moral issues but because I was tired or just plain lazy to ‘clean up their mess’ that I made a big ‘Hoo Hah’ over their insignificant ‘trespasses’! And their only fault was being who they were—–children; doing childish things that sometimes translate into ‘trouble’ for us!
The author goes on to say that one of the ways to pass that sense of secure love from a parent to a child is to accept the child for who he or she is and that includes accepting the inconveniences that come along the way. Because they are such special individuals that no two are alike, leeway and time must be afforded to truly savour that personality that comes forth from any individual child!
Oh how I wish I could do that! Celebrate each child’s uniqueness and really enjoy them for who they are but logistically it gets tougher when your broods get bigger and everyone has ideas of their own! And you have Agenda to meet every day! So what does a well- meaning parent do? I try to make my children conform to a certain behavioural standard that allows no deviation too far out from ‘acceptable’ especially when it entails lots of inconvenience on my part!
Maybe it’s the impending arrival of number 4, maybe it’s changes that we are expecting soon with the arrival of our new boat in August, maybe it’s Jairus’ application to be home-schooled that is giving me the jitters—whatever the reason maybe, I am thankful for parenting books such as this that helps keep me on my toes and keep that inspiration and desire to be a better parent burning strong.
And the upcoming vacation in Australia would probably help plenty too…. Nature always has a calming effect for me and helps me puts things right in perspective again. More fresh air and less hazy air will do everybody good….. 🙂 Be sending my next blog from Australia soon!