Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Kamikaze Parenting – Setting Me Up For the Fall

Courtesy and in Loving Memory of Christina Jones Hooker
You know it had to happen. I just as good as told you so. One of the reasons I choked at the idea of this series came to fruition right on cue. Were you waiting for it?

Mostly, I was afraid I'd shoot my mouth off one night to wake up the next morning and find out my kid had publicly humiliated me for life. In technicolor.”

I woke up this morning breathing a little easier, feeling pretty good (but not smug) about what I'd written last night. Maybe there was even a glimmer of hope that I might get thru unscathed at least till the weekend? Yea. Uh-huh. Right. I did until just after lunch time.

I arrived to pick up Son #2 from art class only to catch a glimpse of the teacher's face. I hasten to add that, for folks who do not have a similarly situated immediate family member, coping with an Aspie can be a little daunting. It can be acutely so if the Aspie is a little on edge because life has been on the edge the last few weeks or so. You are beginning to see what's coming, aren't you? My technicolor humiliation.

Courtesy M. Horrocks
My son had not been running with scissors, but he and a friend had tried to occupy the same spot at the same time. His friend ended up with a layer of skin scraped off his elbow. It looked like the granddaddy of all friction burns only a little deeper. Not that big. No stitches or butterfly bandage required. Just lots of mea culpa's and worries about infection until the wound closes over.

My sweet friend and her son were calm, collected, and conciliatory. Son #2 was awkward in communicating his ownership of the situation and failed to satisfy the teacher when he did so. The teacher's drama background failed to serve her well in concealing what appeared to be exasperation.

All I could think was, “This will never end. There is always going to be something for my courageous Aspie fellas that defines them as 'different'. I should NEVER have written that blog post last night. Who am I to be writing about parenting or faith or anything else for that matter.” 
*Be prepared to be humble and to set a humble example for your children. Be prepared to do so ad nauseum.

I might not be an expert on much, but I'm in the ball park on that one, let me tell ya. If you think about it, that principle stems directly from Phillipians 2: 3 (ESV) – Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. You can add in a dash of Proverbs 15: 1 (ESV) – A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

A few years ago,a neighbor kid unloaded an Airsoft gun at dogs on the other side of our fence. Neither of our sons owned one of those 'toys', but I knew the neighbor had been over to play that day. So, when the dogs' owner came over with a Ziploc bag of the bb ammunition, the neighbor, whom I had not met before, didn't have to tell me anything.

I looked at him and said, “You don't have to say a word. Give us a few minutes. My son will write a note of apology. My husband will bring him over to deliver it.” The young man who owned and shot the gun was NEVER compelled to apologize for his actions. We wanted our son to understand that if he was at the 'scene of the crime and did nothing to intervene' it is called 'guilt by association'.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
My 3 testosterone units will tell you, that I abhor car horns. They are used way too often these days to get your attention so that a frustrated driver can indict you for your vehicular sins. Many a road rage accident starts with a horn. My crew will tell you that my reaction to erratic driving is almost always: “That may be an older person or a newcomer who is disoriented and needs to get their bearings. It might be a young mom distracted by a sick, crying child. More frighteningly, it might be someone under the influence of a drug or alcohol. Do not blow the horn unless we are in imminent danger.”

In these examples, I hope to teach my sons what it means to live out the verses from Phillipians and Proverbs. You only have to read the paper to realize that less and less attention is given to teaching our kids about humility or putting the needs and welfare of others before their own. By contrast, we spend too much time worrying about the stability of their self-esteem without realizing that in caring for others, we learn to esteem ourselves in proper proportion.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Slowly, slowly we stir the pot of parenthood. Parenting requires sacrificial time beyond caring for the minimal basic needs and then running scatteratically from one event to the other. Punt some of the urgent stuff in favor of the important down time a family needs to allow deep and true connections. Take that freed up time to teach your children how their value stems from the Creator who designed them with a unique purpose in mind. Teach them to say what they mean and keep their word. Teach them to honor the boundaries and property of others. Demonstrate grace and humility in the midst of embarrassment when life hands you moments of technicolor humiliation.

Well, after today's fiasco, I'm sure you are dying to come back tomorrow to see what kind of crow I get to eat then, aren't you? ;-) Come on back, fraidy cat. Bring a friend. It's gonna take a village to get me thru this, and I'm looking at YOU when I say that!

Courtesy B. Creasy

 Missed part of this series? Catch up with these links:

Part ONE
Part TWO

No comments:

Post a Comment