Thursday, March 24, 2011

REPOST: Even on a Ball

This is a post I wrote a while back about parenting my kids. I think, in the end, if we have good intentions and we care about the big stuff and don't sweat the small stuff, we have a great chance of raising kids we can be proud of. You can see the original post here.


Even on a Ball

In one of my last posts, someone called me supermom, and that made me laugh. A lot. I mean, thanks for the compliment, but I am so far from it. In fact, I have yet to meet anyone who actually deserves the supermom title, although I think every good mom gets it anyway, from the most important people involved...their kids. Even if you're just a mom who means well but makes a lot of mistakes, there is going to be a time in your kids' life when you are a superhero to them, the one person who can magically fix broken toys, show up with 50 cupcakes on snack day, who has eyes in the back of her head, the person who seems to know everything.

In the end, I don't think it matters if you're picking up those cupcakes at the grocery on the way to school because you totally forgot about snack day or you're baking them from scratch, or if you're painstakingly mending a toy or running to the store to buy a replacement. The end result is what matters...that we're there for our kids when they need us. The vehicle that gets us there is pretty unimportant.

So no, I'm not supermom. I mean, seriously, I have basically been pregnant or nursing since the beginning of 2004 (Read: Puking or exhausted or short tempered have been my main moods). I turn the tv on so my kids can sleep in and when I say we're leaving in 5 minutes, it usually means 20. I've been known to buckle them all into the car, drive somewhere, and just sit reading a book in the front seat with a book on tape playing in the back so I can decompress a little. Sometimes I lock them out of the bathroom, and a lot of times I tell them "Yes, just a second," and then totally forget I've told them I'd do whatever it was in the first place. A lot of times, I say no to the park because I'm not in the mood. I let them leave the house in pajamas or worse, and I stick them in bed at 7 pm no matter what, even if it's still light out because I need the time to relax. Sometimes earlier. I've been known to yell "If you come out of that room one more time you'll be sorry, miss/mister!" A lot of times, I parent from a distance instead of getting down on their level, even when I know better (no, it doesn't work). You'll never see their school lunches in the shape of the letter of the week, and I tend to throw their school crafts together the night before they're due.

But on the flip side, I do try to listen to them when the want to talk, and when I find something they're good at, I try to foster it. For instance, Jace is a really good at beat boxing. No, I'm serious. So now we have dance parties in the living room and Jace practices his beat boxing. I'm thinking he could be the next Justin Timberlake. Even though we lay around a lot, we tend to do it in a pile, all three or four of us lounging together on the couch. I am always up for a game of hair salon, and I let the kids have their own opinions, sometimes. I feed them at least three times a day, and if they eat their food, they usually get dessert. I don't let them eat fries, and I buy them organic milk without growth hormones because I am scared of all the stories about kids going through puberty at 5. I am always available for a hug, and I tell the kids I love them at least 50 times a day.

So, with all that said, it looks like it's about even. I am an average parent. Mediocre, even. If all we're taking into account is parenting style, then I am absolutely nothing special, just one of the crowd. But the other thing I have always refused to compromise on is my beliefs. My children have grown up in the church, and we have always talked about God and Jesus like they were in the room with us. To me, the point of parenting is not whether or not you're in the right playgroup or you feed your kids all organic, naturally grown foods, or if their evey moment and activity is mapped out from kindergarten to get them into the right college. Whether they learn to read when they're 3 or 8 doesn't matter. What matters is raising our kids to embody Christ, to be God with skin on to other people, and to be proud of their beliefs and strong enough to share them with others. Teaching them in a way that lets them choose Jesus for themselves instead of toeing the line because it's what they're supposed to do.

It's not easy. In our society, moral innocence is not valued. I see little kids at R rated moves and dressing in shocking ways (Kind of feel old saying that). Social mores have changed dramatically. Raising a Godly child today is hard. People are taught to question everything, that God is nothing but another guess at what's really out there. And so, so many people influence our kids besides us. So we're undertaking a hard job.

Today, we spent 3 hours at a soccer clinic with the Clearwater Christian College soccer team. Ava was playing with a new soccer ball today, and it was really cool looking...lots of different colors and patterns. I'd never seen a ball that looked like it. When the coach of the team called all the kids over and started a devotional midway though the clinic, I was floored. I mean, in a good way. I had never thought of mixing sports and spirituality. Even though God is in everything, I apparently forgot He was in soccer. Then, it hit me. The soccer ball was the Plan of Salvation, the path every one of us has to traverse to get to Heaven. On a ball. What an awesome idea...what a way to bring God into the conversation! We immediately picked one up, as the proceeds benefit a ministry that provides soccer balls to underprivileged kids around the world and shares the gospel with them.

On the way home, Ava and Jace were in the back seat talking about the ball. Ava knows the plan of salvation (or the gospel fuzzies, as she calls them) backwards and forwards, but today, she asked Jace if he understood it. He didn't, so she walked him through each step. Gold for Heaven, Black for our sin, Red for Jesus' blood, White for our cleansing, Green for Growing in Christ. She made up a song. She made it funny. Before long, he had it memorized. I heard her say "Now Jace, pay attention. You heard the coach...we're all supposed to teach this to other people. It's not enough just to know it yourself." I mentioned to her that it was important that Jace understand the meaning behind the plan, not just the labels, and she nodded and said "I know, mom. I'm getting there."

So while I'm just an average mom, and I'm totally ok with that...(remember, I'm imperfect, and I wouldn't want the pressure of being supermom anyway), I think God is doing a super job through me of sharing His word with our kids, along with making it possible for me to surround them with people who can be God to them, too. I love that they're growing up learning that He is in everything, not just in church.

And how cool is the soccer ball thing!? You can see the ball walks you through the plan of salvation online. I'm not getting anything out of showing it to you, by the way, I just think it's an awesome way to share with kids on their turf.
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