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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Creative Parenting Techniques

When I was pregnant with my first child, I envisioned myself being the perfect mom. I would feed them well, dress them well and teach them many, many of life’s lessons.

Sometimes my best intentions turn awry. The whole feeding thing has been a disaster ever since they got off the bottle. Dressing them how I want them to look has turned into a challenge of unimaginable scale. But the teachings of life’s lessons are hit and miss. Take this week for example.

Alex calls me at work.

“Mom? I think Cole needs therapy. He’s scared of a butterfly! He said one chased him and he won’t go back outside!"

“Let me talk to him.” (Alex puts Cole on the phone.)

“Cole, don’t you know that butterflies are beautiful creatures sent from God? As a matter of fact, I wonder sometimes if butterflies are actually angels with their big, beautiful wings! And they fly so graciously, they must be angels! So, you see? There's nothing to be afraid of. Now, hug your sister and go back outside.”

I’m thinking I was pretty clever with this one. Cole will now always look at butterflies with thoughts of angels. He'll probably go on to tell his kids and grandkids the same story about butterflies being angels!

My cell phone rings 30 seconds later.

“Mom? What did you say to Cole? He's really crying now! He said the butterfly attacked his face.”

Oh boy. So he probably thinks that an angel from God was after him. I scared the poor little boy. Regroup. Think. Courage. This boy needs courage. Like the lion on the Wizard of Oz, which we just happened to watch Sunday night.(I hadn't heard Cole laugh so hard in a long time. And he wasn't at all scared of the flying monkeys. Go figure.)

“Alex, here's what you do. Dress him up in our lion's costume. Tell him he’s the lion on the Wizard of Oz. Then bestow the badge of courage on him. See if that works.”

And so it did. Well, at least it got him away from the scary butterfly for awhile.

My whole point is that sometimes my techniques work out. Sometimes they're a bitter failure. But even when I scare the crap out of them, my kids somehow always end up okay. And why is that?

Because the only responsibility that truly matters is to love them. I never screw that up.

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