Monday, September 24, 2018

Goin' On A Bear Hunt

Perhaps it is because I have a little one in the house, but lately, I am reminded how many life lessons really are the basics we learned in preschool and Kindergarten.

In the thick of life with a 3-year-old and three uniquely wired 14-year-olds, I keep coming back to the truth that the process--messy, painful, chaotic and tender as it may be-- IS what parenting is about. The maturity we hope for our children to gain, the growth we expect and the strength we want to launch them into adulthood having is all built here and now, in the gym of growing up.

Our human tendency is to run from mess, failure and conflict. As my children encounter various trials and confront areas of immaturity, I want to hit fast forward and hurry on to the other side, even though I know better. I like efficiency and finality. Frankly, I don't enjoy the laborious process of trial and error. I want the payoff, but wish there were ways to microwave the process--to speed it up and minimize the pain.

Thinking about this recently I heard the old children's song in my head, "Goin' on a Bear Hunt." If you are unfamiliar with the song, it recounts a fictional walk through the woods where multiple obstacles are encountered. There are various versions, but at the end of each obstacle comes a familiar refrain, something along the lines of:
"I'm not scared. No, I'm not scared. 
We can't go over it, 
We can't go under it, 
We can't go around it. 
We just have to go through it."

ADHD, Anxiety, hormones, ego, impulse control, truth-telling, learning to navigate relationships...all these current challenges in my home and their accompanying emotions are exhausting. But there is no question in the breaking down and the rebuilding up emotional, psychological and spiritual muscles are born.

My fledgling young adults are trying out their wobbly emotional and social legs in front of an audience of the world. In a baby giraffe we would ooh and ahh, but in a teenager, we tend to cringe and/or judge. The world keeps telling us that stumbling is a sign of failure, but it really is the precursor to walking.

So I am spending a lot of time praying, deep breathing and sometimes, I confess, peeking between the fingers of my covered eyes. I don't want to watch the stumbles, but I know they are essential to learning to walk and then run the race set before us.

"We can't go over it, we can't go under it, we can't go around it. We just have to go through it..."

4 comments:

walnutshademom said...

I have been reading your blog for many years. You are both an excellent writer AND you have a great story to tell! I read your blog because you teach me so much - and so many practical things - about parenting and my relationship with God. I am actually in awe of you! I don't have your spiritual maturity or your heart for others, but I surely admire your willingness to reach out to foster kids, to challenged moms, and of course to your own bio kids. You are one heckuva great mom. Way to go!

The other night I was tossing and turning and finally gave up trying to sleep. In the bathroom, God said, "Over, under, around, and through." I wrote it down, not sure why he said it or what I was supposed to do with it. I'm still not sure, and I've never heard that particular children's song, but when I read it in your post I decided I should take the initiative to write and tell you how very much I appreciate your blog. Your posts always bless me.

Oh, I'm 57, married 31 years. We homeschooled our four children (now 28, 26, 24, and 19) for 25 years. We live in Missouri and happen to be white. Katie lives and works just outside Charlottesville, Virginia. Jessica and her Singaporean husband are missionaries in Hong Kong, Josiah lives and works near San Francisco, Andrew, who was adopted as a newborn and happens to be biracial, is in his first year of college 45 minutes away.

I wish I had been as wise a parent when our kids were younger as you are, but I am always learning and always working to keep close, healthy relationships with each of them. The list of challenges we've had to deal with among the four of them, not to mention challenges in our marriage through the years, is long, but God's faithfulness and grace to us is much greater.

Thank you for the blessing you are to my life!
Patty Roberts

Love Being A Nonny said...

I agree with Patty’s comment. I learn from you. You so eloquently say what i am thinking. What a gift you are to your children.

Diane Tohline said...

Jenn,
You are doing such an amazing job as I watch you through social media. Everything you go through is "times 3"! Thank you for sharing your journey - it is a blessing - your children are beautiful and your family is a great example of doing life intentionally.

Diane

JMom said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to write such encouraging words, ladies. I am inspired and encouraged by those of you a few steps ahead of me!!