Monday, May 02, 2016

Because You Don't Always Know the Back Story

I had a restorative brunch with some of my dearest friends this morning--an incredibly therapeutic way to start a busy Spring week. Among the many turns our conversation took was some confession on my part of an insecurity I am carrying related to one of my children.

I stop by the school a few times a week with a delivery that to a casual observer would seem absurd. Honestly, before I was in the situation I would have judged my actions as enabling, coddling from a Mama with too much time on her hands. Maybe in a few years, I will look back with a different perspective--but for now, they seem right, loving and appropriate.

My pride wants to explain why I am there and justify my decision--but my kids are now at an age where their story is not always mine to tell. It is not my responsibility to satisfy the curiosity of others or to assuage my pride by justifying actions. I'll risk judgment to protect my child's privacy and preserve our trust.

As I was talking with my friends, one of them teared up and shared a similar story from her adolescence--when her mother came to the school parking lot every day during PE to help her dress out so the other girls in the locker room wouldn't see her back brace and tease her. As tears streamed down her face she said, "I don't remember any of her lectures or specific lessons she intended for me at that age--but I remember that my Mama made sure I felt safe and loved."

We all laughed through our tears that this sacrificial act by her mother likely caused people who didn't understand the back story to label her in a negative way. I cringed at the realization I have certainly made the same mistake with my peers.

As an ex-Montessori Mama, a believer in empowering our kids, fostering independence and teaching our kids to be brave--I feel like a bit of a hypocrite. Yet, I am growing to realize that the most dangerous mistake we can make as parents is making broad, sweeping generalizations that we then cling to for the sake of our pride.

I am learning that mothering God's way means abiding in Him. Yes, there are general rules that always hold true--but those are fewer and farther between than I previously thought. God's grace is sufficient for TODAY--so I am trusting Him moment by moment, step by step and decision by decision. The road is different for each child. I'm trusting their Creator as my guide.

Furthermore, it is not my job to judge another Mama doing the same thing.

As we race toward the finish line of elementary school and look towards all the awkward, anxiety producing, exciting growth of middle school, I pray God will keep reminding me there is generally a lot more to the story than what we see on the surface--and most of us are just doing the best we can!


KPrice said...

Learning to lean in and trust completely in the love offered by another is a very brave thing to do and a very necessary thing to do as we allow ourselves to be wholly embraced by the fullness of our Father's love for us knowing that it will not fail. It is humbling and scary and remarkable. You are providing just a glimpse of that to your family as they boldly learn to delight in His mercy, feel secure in His promises and walk obediently following His command to love another. I'm guessing that you are teaching them the very best kind of brave!

Kristi said...

I've found myself in a similar situation several times - and also had to admit that I've judged others' actions without the facts as well. I'm learning to let go about what others think of my parenting decisions and trust in the Lord's direction. I have a child with lots of sensory issues - and people just don't understand. A lot of times I hear that "in my house, kids take what I put out or do without." etc. I try to just smile - and say, well, that doesn't work in my house for a variety of reasons - but to each his own :) Often I'm judged as people think I'm coddling...and it's actually trying to help my child learn to navigate her decisions and situations so she's best prepared to handle them on her own in the future. Sometimes this is a prepared lunch for school, sometimes it's my presence & assistance at certain activities to ease transitions, and sometimes it's me exhaustingly trying to think ahead of what "might" cause a meltdown...and have a ready solution to stop the meltdown. Not at all an attempt to reward bad behavior. And always - I try to remember there have been countless others that I have judged without a second thought that their motives might not be what I thought. Ahhh...this parenting gig is not for sissies ;)

Denise Ross said...

Thank you for this enlightening post. I'm too a. Guilty of judging without knowing he full back story and I know I've Ben judged for the way I do things with my kids. Thank you for the wake up and the reminder to pray for and love on others rather than judge and to rest in God daily in my parenting as well as everything else I do and need.