Friday, May 28, 2010

on this whole quantity/quality thing...

I was reading here this afternoon and decided I really should share this story.

About 4 years ago, as a "gift" from my BeautiControl director, I was given a one hour session with a life coach. It was to help me "see the big picture", "grow my success", and to help me "find inner peace and balance."

So, in my old home at Sandbranch, the complete upstairs of an addition was this beautiful room that, at that time, served as my office. It had a large 4X8 picture window where my computer and desk were, so there I sat while I was on this lovely phone call that was to open my eyes.

As I listened to this gentleman from CA try to encourage me to find balance in life, I spun around in my chair, and outside of that beautiful window, I see my 3 year old Emma Rae running up the hill to her grandma and grandpas who lived behind us. I had put her down for a nap, and obviously, she had gotten up while I was distracted and was letting herself out to go for a visit.

As I watch her pawpaw receive her warmly, I hear this coach of living on the other end start to explain to me what my director's goal was for our call. "I have heard a lot about you Jamie. It seems you are quite a young lady. I hear you juggle being a wife, a mother of two, and have built a rather large business, even earning the coveted Mustang, with BeautiControl. Your director tells me you seem to be off track all of the sudden. You're feeling overwhelmed and are talking about letting it all go to home school your children and not be so distracted."

He continues, "I have a son, Jamie. His mother and I are the presidents of this coaching firm. We have worked so hard that we now can afford to have him educated in the best school there is in our area. Now, don't get me wrong, I know that it is a sacrifice for her and I to work so many hours, but the sacrifice is worth it. He is excelling in his schooling, and when we see him on the weekends, we make the best memories doing whatever he wants to do! Now Jamie, he is a happy kid."

"Um, I'm sorry Mr. S______, but what was that?", surely I haven't heard what I just think I heard...

"Well, our son stays on campus at this Middle School from Monday through Saturday mornings. It works best because of the time and effort put into his education, they don't need to have them distracted with home life. That way he can be focused on what is important through the week, his mother and I can be focused on what is important through the week, and then we can come together for quality time. That is what it is about Jamie, quality time. Not quantity. You do realize that statistics show that mothers who work spend as much, if not more, quality time with their children as those who supposedly stay at home, don't you?"

"Well, I have heard that quoted before, but well, we don't exactly, um, how should I say this..."

"Listen Jamie, I'm sure you have some people who may influence you that have good intentions, but from what I have heard from your director, to give up what you have worked so hard for is senseless. Why not keep sacrificing a measly 30 hours a week so that your children can go to the schools they want to go to, and you can afford to give them a start to life that otherwise you won't be able to? Your kids will grow up to appreciate this sacrifice for them. I guarantee it. So, tell me, how many parties do you have booked for next month? Will it be enough to get you over this negative way of thinking and get you back in the game?"

By this time PawPaw RayRay has returned the rebellious parolee back home, and with the door locked and her in my sight, I was focused on trying to end this call without insulting this poor, ignorant man.

"Mr. S_________, let me just say I do appreciate where you are coming from. It seems that your household is running just as you would have it to, but for us, well, we see a different calling on our life. Not that the money BeautiControl could make me wouldn't be helpful with some things, but to be honest, that sacrifice isn't worth it to us. I'd rather not have to make the decision between quality or quantity anymore. I'd rather just work at both for now."

The conversation ended with him assuring me I would regret this decision. And then was followed with months, and now it has been years, of controversy from many around me as I began to live out my "take" on how BeautiControl, or maybe other direct sales if that is the case, should be for those who want to work, not for those who are working at being full-time wives and mothers.

Gina was right, just being here counts for something. At a home school conference a few weeks ago, a lady made a wonderful analogy, which I plan on referencing a lot on some upcoming blogs, about our children being a blank, brand new, clean notebook. The conversations our children have, the places are children go, and all the things our children see and hear are written on that notebook with an ink pen.

I have thought about that a lot since then, and it came to mind again as I tried to reckon how much quality time we have had lately. This post is getting too long, as usual, so let me end with just saying hope is that in 10 years, you could take the weight of the pages written from quality time of fishing, vacationing, playing cards, and doing cool crafts and when compared to the weight of the pages written from quantity time of singing Sara Groves in the car as we run errands, them reading quietly in their room while I blog, them helping to bring order to the house with specific chores, and them playing outside unattended while I mark things off my to-do list inside, you would find that although the quality time helped to form wonderful memories and reinforce them feeling loved, it was in the quantity times of daily life that their character was matured.

No one is counting how much quality vs quantity time we have with our kids. But I can assure you, it is leaving it's writings on those clean pages. How will the quantity of your child's notebook read in ten years? and more importantly, who will be able to take credit as contributing authors?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Emma turned 7 by bringing her parents joy!

Last night after I tucked in my 6 year old for the last time, I was reading an article about parenting. The author talked about building a relationship with your child so that they want to please you. "Kids who know they are treasured will give you their all to be worthy of your high opinion of them", he says.
How is it we can complain about the poor behavior of our child in front of them, even labeling them brats, or drama queens, and then question why they behave in such a way? We must build godly character in our children at a young age.

I was so guilty of labeling my children when they were younger. Ethan was the good one, and Emma was "evil". How unfair was that? I was blessed enough to be instructed that children who are living out the foolish labels they have been given by their parents seldom decide it is time to change on their own. It was not easy to hear, or to admit how poor of a job I was doing, however, it helped me to see the need to take responsibility my parenting. Instead of evil, I started calling Emma precious. If she behaved in a way that wasn't pleasing to me, I told her that she needed to practice being precious, and that being a brat or acting in such a way is never okay.

We now use training and disciplining vs just disciplining out of frustration, and if we are not willing to carry out the punishment, we do not just threaten with it. Now, I am blessed with a daughter who still struggles with a strong will, still struggles with obedience at ALL times, however, she has a goal of good behavior expected of her, and because of that, she finds joy and accomplishment when she is mommy's precious little one. Being a parent should be joyful. We should be raising children who are blessings to us and those around them. If your child is not a blessing to others, what can you do to change that?

Don't put them in a labeled box and expect them to just continue being unruly until they are teenagers and out of control! Don't excuse your unruly teenagers behavior as though it is acceptable! Parents MUST take responsibility for the behavior of their children, and most importantly, for the discipling of their children. As my sister said in a devotion she led Saturday at a baby shower, "Your child can be Valedictorian, Homecoming Queen, an Olympic Gold Medalist, or the most intelligent person you'd ever meet, but if they fail to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, they will spend eternity separated from Him. Their soul is of utmost importance."

May God bless you with the concern, and the passion, to train up your child in the way he/she should go. I must say, this was a burden in my heart that I am very grateful for. Emma Rae turns 7 today. Around the age of 4, we began taking responsibility for her behavior, and I cannot imagine the joy we would have missed out on had we continued down the path we were on.

She is still unpredictable at times, she still has a far more wild spirit than her older brother, and she still brings us so much laughter! I haven't turned her into a joyless little robot who just performs on command by training her! However, the Lord has definitely blessed our efforts, and my Emma enjoys living out the labels of being a precious blessing.