Mothering. Part 20 billion in a series.
My Mom and Stepdad came over for dinner last night, as they do most Wednesdays. We alternate weeks for cooking, and last night, it was her turn. It’s always so lovely to think that once every two weeks, I can have a homecooked meal that I didn’t make. 😀 We had ham, braised veggies, corn, and fresh tropical fruit salad with honey and mint. Mmmm.
After we played games — Yahtzee and Jenga, I put the kids in bed (Martin was out on unnamed-to-the-kids “errands” — our kids still think they’re getting virtually nothing for Christmas, and really did not put two and two together about evening “errands” on the 19th of December). Then, my Mom and I started a Scrabble game while we watched the Suns lose 😦 . Then, after 10:00, as they were about to leave, I thought I’d give them a little update. What I meant to say was, “I’ve been having trouble with the kids, and I’m starting them all on a GFCF diet.” But, we ended up talking for nearly two hours about the whole situation. The whole time, in the back of my mind, I had the thought, “They must really love the kids and me” because I knew they were tired, and I kept giving them outs to excuse themselves and go home to bed, but they kept the conversation going, really going deep…
We spent most of the time talking about 10yo Ethan, because when it comes down to it, though I’ve been having “issues” with all three of the boys, Ethan’s situation is, to me, the most problematic.
The best things I gleaned from the conversation:
My biggest heartache is that my children don’t act like mature Christians. Well, duh. They’re not. I need to adjust my expecations — and even my hopes — in this, so that I’m not continually surprised/disappointed that they’re not more Christ-like.
When I have a conversation with, and it gets to his heart, and he gets convicted and sheds some tears (which happens about once a week), instead of just leaving him convicted, I need to give him some steps of things he can do to not let that situation happen again. Previously, I’ve thought, “Well, if he can just see what he’s doing, he’ll change.” But, apparently, this isn’t the case. He can see what he’s doing, but still feel/be powerless to change if he doesn’t have the tools with which to change.
The basics of the day — school and chores — I have no problem getting the boys to do. Its the attitudes, hearts and relationships that are my concern.
Since Ethan abuses his power of authority when I leave him in charge of anything, I need to instead, leave Grant in charge for short periods of time. This is like when I say, “OK, I’m going to take a shower.” I’m not actually leaving the house or anything. Eight year old Grant is actually a sensitive, fair, considerate leader; Ethan is of the sort that says, “Bow to me. Now. Scum of the earth, obey my commands.” Ethan will, someday, be a good leader, but his extreme power-tripping and lack of consideration of others is a hindrance to allowing him even the slightest bit of authority.
I need to be more intentional about having Ethan practice being empathetic/kind, instead of just being sad that he’s not. For instance, “Today, you are purposefully going to say three genuinely nice things to Wesley, and report back to me what they were, how Wes responded, etc.”
I need to be more intentional about asking Martin for his fatherly input… Ethan needs more one-on-one time with Martin.
Obviously, in two hours of conversation, a lot more was discussed… but that was the gist of it. Good stuff.