I was thinking back on some sweet childhood memories recently. I was thinking about who different individuals in my family were to me as a child versus the relationship we have now that I am an adult. As a child, some relatives valued me more than others. I'm not saying they didn't love me, I am saying some embrace your childishness more than others. Some relatives just prefer to spend time with a more mature crowd. Hopefully this makes sense.
It was at this time that I switched my thinking around a bit.
When my children grow up, how will they remember me?
There is a fine line between teaching your children and nagging them. Will they think I was a nag because of the many times I have lost patience over a messy room? Will they wish their mother had played with them more? Will they tell me I made casseroles just to make them miserable?
I seriously don't think they will thank me for their clean rooms or forcing them to do their homework.
I am going to be very honest. While there are many things I could improve on, I am going to focus on one. I have noticed that my ability to be patient has been strained and I am starting to yell more. I hate that. Patience used to be one of my biggest virtues. I have decided I am going to change back to the old me.
I attended a conference recently about approaching difficult conversations. The workshop was intended to teach us how to better communicate with schools for our child with special needs. There were so many things in that workshop that can apply to your own personal, everyday life. One thing stuck with me in a big way and I have decided to make that my own goal. Want to hear it?
Here we go.
Decide WHO you are going to be in every conversation and commit to BE that person.
It is very simple, really. Am I going to be the crazy, angry, middle-aged woman or the mom who can get things accomplished with love, patience, kindness and gentleness? At the end of the day, both types can achieve the same goal but only one fills their children's hearts with the right stuff. Only one will grow the type of person that I wish my children to become.
Who we are is a choice we make. We can blame past experience, upbringing, genetics, lack of sleep, health, hunger, or present situations but we always have the power to choose how we respond to them.
For me, I know my faith will bring me through it. I can pray for the fruit of the spirit and intentionally think things through before I lose my head over the little things in life. I can plan ahead and prepare for situations. I can think through positive reinforcements to get the behaviors I want from my children. I can prepare myself to deal with the meltdown that will ensue from natural consequences that my children will not like. I know that preparation is the key. It isn't about being a pushover, it is about being the mother and woman God calls me to be.
So, when you think about it - how will the people in your life remember you someday?