24 August 2011

Right or Easy

Often in parenting I find that there's a choice to be made: a choice between what is right and what is easy.  Before I go further, let me say that I do not think there's only one right way to parent - to say that would be to fail to take into account the fact that each person, each child and each parent, is different, and each family dynamic is different.  There are some things I'm completely against, like CIO and baby/child "training", but overall I wouldn't say there's one right or wrong way to do things.

from Harry Potter Wikia
As I go about my day, though, I notice this choice between doing what is right and what is easy.  Perhaps I'm busy or just tired when I take the easy way of out of just saying "no!" or becoming exasperated or whatnot instead of addressing the root of the problem.

If I know that Charlotte's fond of climbing on the table, but do nothing to redirect her or show her something more appropriate on which to climb because it's just easier to say "no", that doesn't do a lot of good.  In fact, what ends up happening is that she'll climb up there anyway, I'll get irritated and pull her off, and she'll have a tantrum.  Now, at that point it's no longer "easy" but there's still time to do what is "right" (for example, by proceeding to show her an appropriate venue for her climbing, like Kieran's bed) instead of reacting in kind.

I'll be honest - this is a constant struggle for me.  I have to constantly remember to parent more responsively when I'm feeling tired or am trying to cook or do housework.  I don't think it's always possible to head things off before they happen, for I'm not omniscient or omnipresent and I can't control the actions of others, but, with the grace of God, I do think it's possible to make the right choice, which will vary from child to child and situation to situation.

Once again I come back to the idea of the domestic monastery and responding joyfully as I'm needed.  It's certainly not easy, for denying ourselves is never easy.  Thankfully God gives us the grace we need.

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