Teach Not Demand
She walked up to me smiling, “OK Mom, my room’s all done! Come and see!” I stepped away from my own chores and followed her bouncy little body into her room. There she stood, grinning from ear to ear, I got her best Vanna White arm extension, followed by a wink of those big brown eyes and a merry, “Ta dah!”
I gave her that crinkled nose smile I so often do when I playfully tease and I turned to scan the room. I was feeling very happy about what I was seeing until my scan abruptly stopped at her desk on the far right of the room. The crinkled nose smile was replaced with a scowl and I jerked my head towards her, the disappointment in my face registered and the afore gleeful young girl slumped and said quietly, “What?”
For the next several minutes she got a “good” tongue lashing about how she did not clean her room thoroughly because she left a big pile of stuff under her desk. I exited her room thinking I had just done some excellent teaching on work ethic.
It wasn't until later that night that I realized the error or my ways. That error glared at me as I was getting ready for bed – turning down the comforter, grabbing the pillows and dropping them in “their spot” on the chair. But in the chair was a huge pile of junk, so I had to place the bedding on the floor.
That’s when the obvious flew up and smacked me in the head. I had my own pile of stuff sitting in my room. That I planned to get to “eventually” but for now it was just there, making a mess until I could get around to it.
How would I feel if someone berated me for that? Not too good that’s for sure.
I drew in a deep breath and recognized I owed my sweet girl and apology.
As I entered her room I found her piled up in bed, eyes affixed to a book. She laid it down gently, looked up at me wide eyed and cheerily asked, “What’s up, Mom?” I reminded her about our “conversation” earlier that day – that “conversation” that sounded a whole lot more like a “berating my child session” than a conversation.
I apologized to my daughter and asked her if she would forgive me. She quickly and easily did. She went on to share with me that I indeed made her feel like a failure, when she thought she had done what I had asked.
Oh moms…take it from me – do not demand perfection, as God will quickly point out just how far you are from perfection you are yourself. Grace and understanding, while teaching your children go a lot further than demands and berating.
This mom thing…God uses to teach us who we really are, and how much we need Him.