Monday, December 17, 2007

Control


I hung out with Sara (next to me in middle photo) a few days ago and helped her with her blog. She sees me as a blogwiz (of course the very idea would make my husband explode with laughter). Regardless, I was totally psyched to help her. So now she has a picture of her family and some coolio widgets etc...I even got her on nearcirlce and she was really excited about that. I LOVED helping her. I really had fun.

(BTW, Andrew doesn't really drink. He's not 21 yet. However, he was making fun of all of us at a dinner party we threw over the weekend. He said 'Hey, look this is what happens at a 'Catholic dinner party' and took the picture of me and Sara and the one above us which was a pic all the bottles of wine. Then he had me take the pic of him pretending to drink Tequila through a funnel. Admittedly, our friend John, was making some killer Margaritas! So, when it comes to Christmas parties....Catholics do have more fun!)

Sara and I always have these winding, stream of consiousness, theological, pedagogical and just plain cool conversations. We were talking alot about CONTROL. . She has also blogged about it at her site Those That Wonder. So we were chatting about how, maybe on the surface, some might think that moms like us, who are really into our Catholicism, might be automatically stereotyped as the controlling, authoritarian, structured type of moms. Not me though...nor Sara really either. I really don't believe that my Faith gives me any right to control my kids. I have a *right to raise them*, but *not control them*. I am to do my best to instill our family's faith and values. I try to live my life in a way so that they will come to understand what I (and their father) believe is truly important and worthy of wanting...their Catholic Christian Faith. I want my kids to learn to control themselves. Robert and I have to show them how to do that by the way that we control ourselves. If my kids only control themselves because of external pressure exerted on them from us, or others around them, how are they going to live as adult who can make their own decisions? I want my kids to be able to internalize the way we live and what we believe so that they learn to control themselves from the inside out. So, how does *that* happen?

So far, around here, it happens through lots of conversations some calm (and some not so calm sorry to say) and acting out examples of how one would accomplish things like getting their point across or what they need, even what they might want. It is so true that the expression "Do what I say, not what I do" will not get you far with your kids. They are watching us...THEY ARE WATCHING US! I have to admit that most every crappy, naughty, selfish thing I have seen my kids do or say, they have seen me do first. I think if maybe parents admitted that to themselves things with their kids would get better. So, the way I help my kids THE MOST with interalizing all the virtues so that they can live them is for me to live a virtuous life in front of them more often than I am doing now. And that is hard because I am everybit a sinner as they are...more so because of age.

Ever wonder why Our Blessed Mother appears to kids more than adults? Because they ARE innocent and less sinful than we are. So why are so many of us out there so desperate to CONTROL our kids and make them better? I don't know because so many of us are NOT BETTER with age, maybe more wise and experienced, but sad to say, we are less transparent sinners (like kids are) and more covert, manipulative sinners. Am I suggesting that kids are perfect, or can't benefit from our experience? No! of course not. I am suggesting that controlling their lives may be more sinful than helpful on our parts. Even Jesus told us to "have the faith of a child". Children are very important to God and he doesn't think they are mindless little brats who need to be controlled and coerced to grow up. Instead he tells us to be like little children. Innocent, trusting, curious, loving, open etc...

So, all that being said, I am trying to control my children less (I don't do much controlling of them to the outside world to begin with, so I am sure the thought of even less control by me is frightening to some). I want to guide them more, show them more (with my actions) how to live...and because they have me for a mom...I will be showing them (unfortunately with some of my actions) how NOT to live as well...but hey! then they will see me go off to Confession. So I *can* win for losing.

I know I will come back to this topic. But for now, I am done pondering in print.

~Peace~

1 comment:

Wendy@WMF said...

I am a Southern Baptist, and come from a long line of Southern Baptists. We are not a people group known for drinking, or fun for that matter.
I went to a Catholic wedding when I was about 20. It was the first non-Baptist wedding I had ever attended. I had no idea that people not only drank at weddings, but the also danced! :) It was a shocking, yet fun experience.