Reminders: Parenting with Love
by Ardith Hoff
Toddlers as well as older children, all instinctively know how to test us. It’s their job! They need to test us in order to learn to become independent, productive citizens who know how to take care of themselves, and at some point, perhaps, children of the their own. The following poem, first published by Erma Bombeck in 1986, is a good example of what it takes to parent with love, especially when we have tweens and teens living at home.
“Someday, when my children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates a mother, I’ll tell them: I loved you enough to bug you about where you were going, with whom and what time you would get home. I loved you enough to insist you buy a bike with your own money, which we could afford, and you couldn’t. I loved you enough to be silent and let you discover that your hand-picked friend was a creep. I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your bedroom, a job that would have taken me 15 minutes. I loved you enough to say, ‘Yes, you can go to Disney World on Mother’s Day.’ I loved you enough to let you see anger, disappointment, disgust, and tears in my eyes. I loved you enough not to make excuses for your lack of respect or your bad manners. I loved you enough to admit that I was wrong and ask for your forgiveness. I loved you enough to ignore ‘what every other mother’ did or said. I loved you enough to let you stumble, fall, hurt, and fail. I loved you enough to let you assume the responsibility for your own actions, at 6, 10, or 16. I loved you enough to figure you would lie about the party being chaperoned but forgave you for it…after discovering I was right. I loved you enough to shove you off my lap, let go of your hand, be mute to your pleas and insensitive to your demands… so that you had to stand alone. I loved you enough to accept you for what you are, and not what I wanted you to be. But most of all, I loved you enough to say “no” when you hated me for it. That was the hardest part of all.”
“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” Colossians 3:20-21