Sunday Post 158: A Precarious Balance

I was at lunch today with some of Lisa’s girlfriends.  They check in on me periodically to make sure I’m not totally screwing up.  And lord knows, I need the help!

We started talking about kids and how easy it is to get frustrated with them.  It seems like they’re always mucking something up:  forgetting their homework, making a mess, being unappreciate, talking back when we ask them to do something.  Un, I do not like that one.

It also seems like we’re always on their butts.  That has to get old – for the parents who used to be enamored with your every move, to now harp on you incessantly, pointing out everything you’re not doing right.

Clearly, some of the corrections are necessary.  Without them, kids end up running a muck and that makes for disaster.  I’ve written about families where the kids are in charge – and it ain’t pretty.

But I wonder, as a parent, if I do enough to encourage my daughters, letting them know that I do notice the good, that I am proud of them – that my love is unconditional.

At night, I sometimes share with them all of the things I think are great about them.  Since it is something we do at least once a month, Stephanie will sometimes prompt me, “Dad, tell me again 15 things you like about me.”

“That is so easy baby!”  I then proceed to quickly spout off what makes her so dag-gone special to me.

Every day I remind them, verbally, that I love them.  I work to compliment them when I think they look especially pretty (although in my eyes, they always look especially pretty), reminding them that if no one else thinks they’re beautiful, one guy does.

DJ is 16 and doesn’t particularly love a bunch of mushy stuff.  But I tell her too.  And I’ll still be telling her when she’s 50, and I’m 82.

Her room looks like an atom bomb went off in it.  Drives me nuts.  I shut the door.  Leave her shoes in the den?  I’ll complain.  But I’m not going to nag about the little stuff.  I had the upstairs doors replaced last year and so looking at the back side of hers is quite pleasant.  She’s making good grades, she’s pretty respectful, she has learned to communicate her whereabouts well – those are the things I’m most concerned about.

If they cross the line on important issues, there will be repercussions.  But I’m working hard not to sweat the small stuff.

I don’t want them to remember their time with me as combative.  I want them to remember that I love them.  I want them to remember the things I think they’re really good at.

Every night I go into their rooms individually, and we pray.  And each night I ask God to help them make good decisions.  I’m half way talking to God and half way talking to them.  If you’ve heard that prayer 3,695 times as a kid, perhaps when some significant decision comes your way, you’ll think before you do something really stupid.

It’s all about balance – love and acceptance on one side and boundaries on the other.

I hope I can manuever that precarious position cause it’s really hard to do.

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12 Comments

  1. Mel Ham

     /  March 2, 2014

    Looking into your home I know the things you have to stay on them about are different than mine due to one, life experiences,and two they are girls Cam’s a boy…enough said. I too have had those thoughts and know that I have to apply or let the consequences happen. That is hard too but sometimes as they get older they have to own the result of doing or not doing something. That’s not easy since I do know more than Cam does but in his mind he knows it all! Yes shoes (or what ever he leaves a trail with) in the living area drives me crazy. Enough of that….here’s 15 (don’t know how you came up with that number…know you there’s a reason) things that I like/love about you: 1. You are a Ham man and I love Ham men 2. You are always funny 3. you lighten a room be it conversation or just your presence 4. You are a great Dad 5. You have a neat style about you 6. You are responsible parent/worker 7. You are cute (I don’t see the love handles) 8. YOu tan really well 9. You can cook 10. You work hard to make things fun 11. You are easy to talk to 12. You are raising three beautiful smart girls that are some of my favorite people. 13. You house feels like a home again 14. Being healthy is important 15. I’m especially fond of you and glad that I have you in my family. I love you much, because of and regardless Mel “how ya like those apples?”

    Reply
  2. Mom

     /  March 2, 2014

    Amen to your sister-in-law’s appraisal of you! Read this before you go to bed every night. It will charge your battery and ready you for tomorrow.

    Reply
  3. Wayne

     /  March 2, 2014

    Three of the reasons I love you is because you’re raising three wonderful grandchildren for me! Dad

    Reply
  4. I have 4 girls, 1 of them is a teenager (13). As we enter the teen yrs I confess I already talk to the Lord about it a lot – kind of like pain meds, I want to be fully covered so as not to miss the window… You sound like you are doing a really great job.

    Reply
  5. As a patent this is my greatest struggle, too! I tell my son several times a day that I love him, and if I forget to say it when we are on the phone, he’ll volunteer it- even when he’s at school and surrounded by his friends! But, I also work to make sure I show him that I love him, to help him turn flaws into features and to help further his relationship with God, his family and friends.
    Can I love with his mess in the living room? Nope. But I can learn how to deal and ask him nicely and with love.
    🙂 Great post Mr. Danny!

    Reply
  6. Aunt Susan

     /  March 2, 2014

    yeah, Mel nailed it, and just shut the door, if the room is messy you don’t have to live in it!

    Reply
  7. You are so concerned for your daughters. Communicating the good and the admirable is surely as important as having to tell them when they’re wrong. Some people would tell me “Your Dad says you have a lot of talent”…but he never told ME! You’re on the right path, don’t worry so…

    Reply
  8. We are on their butts because we DO care. When you feel bad or second guess yourself, you can think or ask yourself what their mom would’ve done too. Keep the faith. You are doing a great job with what God has given you. And when u get weak, turn to him!

    Reply

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