We all have those decisions to make…are we going to lead or follow? As adults it is a bit easier to not follow the crowd, we can logically think it through…usually! But what about when it happens to your child? Have they had that moment yet where they have to choose if they are going to lead or follow?
It starts early on, but when they are tweens and teens it becomes all about “fitting in”.
*This is where I add my disclaimer…I am not going for the mother of the year award with this one, at all! But look at it as a “passing on” of the baton. Things with your child may not be what they really seem!
I just experienced this whole with my 11 yr old daughter. We had told her that she could only have hot lunch at school twice a week (we’re not made of money ya know!). It’s so easy these days since everything is automated! I get sent an email saying her lunch account was low. That’s when I add more money, but I also check to see what she has been eating and how often. I couldn’t believe it, it showed she was eating hot lunch every day! I noticed that here was $70 that was deposited in there…if not from me, then who?
Of course, like a good mom I am ready to punish my daughter! Waiting until the right time to strike! To me, it looked like she was being deceiving/trying to hide it and not get caught. So, we sat down for dinner with bellies full, I seized the moment. “Soooo, how often do you have hot lunch???” I won’t go into all the details, but yes, it ended with tears and quick judgement, courtesy of moi. Yes, the guilt of being the meanest and worst mother ever was starting to pile on me pretty thick!
Later that night, she came and apologized to me. I asked “for what?” and said “come here and sit on my lap”…*another disclaimer, I will snuggle with my daughters, any chance I get before they look at you like you’re crazy!” As I spoke to her gently, peeling the layers of the onion back, I found the real reason for her having hot lunch every day. There was a girl who asked her each and every time she brought cold lunch, “why do you bring cold lunch? You’re weird!”
Light bulb! Ahhh, there it is…that’s the reason! Stamp my forehead with a big DUH! My little girl has been feeling she needs to fit in, so much so, that she used $70 of her own birthday money and I hadn’t been “listening”. Instead I jump down her throat and make it worse! In the heart to heart moment we were able to have, I could share that I had been faced with that kind of stuff too at her age. What a great opportunity to be able to remind her that Jesus wasn’t a follower, but a leader! So that night, I armed my daughter with some loving rebuttals for when this girl gives her a hard time again.
My daughter packed a “special” cold lunch the next day filling it with a PB sandwich, fruit, but also some yummy stuff: licorice, chips, and cupcakes! Yes, the girl asked “why do you bring cold lunch… you’re weird!” My daughter simply asked her “why do you eat hot lunch?”…answer: “because”. Success! That was the end of that!
We will make mistakes while parenting and you may not win the parent of the year award. I learned when they are at this stage in life, keep that communication going and peel back the layers lovingly without jumping down their throat first!
From mom to mom…What may look like a one issue, might just be another! And they are going to need your guidance and support to get through it! To where one year, down the road, they’ll look at you with a smile and say “Thanks mom, I love you!”