Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What they don't tell you about parenting... that you need to make decisions. What do you do when your little darling hits his BFF, he refuses to eat something, he does something you've asked him not to do...the list is endless!   

The only thing I can remember people telling me before Henrik was born and when he was very little was to 'just enjoy it, they grow up too fast'. As it turns out, there is a bit more to parenting than 'just enjoying it'.

At times I am sure their memories have very conveniently erased all the memories of sleepless nights, wet beds, chronic snotty noses, the rush to find a spot that could serve as an improvised toilet (i.e. bush) after you've just passed at least two toilets and you've been assured by your little darling that they don't need a wee wee...just enjoy it ;)

We did a parenting course by Danny Silk at church some time ago and one of the best things he said (via the wonderful media of dvd) was that YOU NEED A PLAN. Even though you are absolutely certain that the apple of your eye will never lie to you, it will happen and you need a plan for how you are going act in the situation. The idea being that knowing what you are going to do in a situation, helps you to stay in control of  yourself - in theory anyway.

So we have a plan for few things, pretty straight forwards things as young sir is only four at the moment. Such as if he leaves the table without asking to be excused the food goes. He still occasionally forgets but he also knows the consequences of what happens. We'll probably need to come up with a new plan for naughty words as young sir grows up. At the moment the extent of his daringness is poo-poo and our plan is that every time he says it he needs to go to the bathroom. Works like a treat.

One thing we did not have a plan for was Easter Bunny. On the way back from school today, young sir asked 'will Easter Bunny bring me eggs'. Oh dear...

Somehow Easter Bunny seems a bigger culprit in messing with the Christian meaning of celebrations than Father Christmas does in my eyes. Father Christmas has the legend of St Nicholas behind him and he does come from Lapland after all!

I didn't have a plan, so I blubbered that mummy and daddy buy easter eggs, easter bunny is just pretend and that Easter is about Jesus dying on the cross and rising again to give us new life. Not sure Henrik was that bothered - I think his main concern was that he would get a chocolate egg!

It just made me think that part of having a plan is what we as a parents value and treasure. What is important to us. As much as I like chocolate, to me fluffy bunny giving away poor quality chocolate in packaging that will be enough to fill a whole landfill site* is not what Easter is about. Easter is about sombreness and remembrance of the cross and celebration of new life. I know that a chocolate egg doesn't negate the meaning of Easter but for many of us, that is the extent of Easter celebrations. 

I have wonderful memories of Easter from when I was growing up. Good Friday was always a very quiet day. It is still usually quite bleak in Finland around Easter time so vases full of daffodils and catkins seemed so bright and cheerful. Signs of new spring that was around the corner. And there is a wonderful Easter pudding in Finland that I love too called pasha. But looking back, my parents manage to convey us a sense of Easter being something that they valued and held precious, not because of what we did but because what it stood for.

So, beyond my exasperation of the school focusing more** on Easter Bunny than on the crucifixion (and from a teachers point of view it it is probably much easier to talk about fluffy bunny than a man dying on the cross) as the reason for Easter,  I am left thinking, what do I value, what do I want young sir to grow up valuing.

It is a challenge for all of us, what is our plan when life throws something at us? When our kids misbehave. When a work situation doesn't work out like we expected. When our finances or not like we would like them to be. When we are having a good day or when we are having a bad day. 

* minor rant
** my information is solely based on what young sir has told me so could be I am mistaken...


Beth Brown said...

I was looking for a 'like' button but couldn't find one so......LIKE!!

The Lindseys said...

Thank you :)