I am guilty of this:
I spend a lot of time, maybe too much time, trying to raise good kids- lessons, experiences, discussions, chores, activities. Often I view my kids through the lens of “what do I still need to teach them”? so I take note when they are ungrateful or disrespectful. Unfortunately, I have a tendency to see what my children are not, not what they are.
Luckily, strangers have reminded me on 3 different occasions to see my kids from a different perspective– to see that they are already good.
The first was last summer when a maintenance lady came up to me as we were leaving “The Garden of the Gods” in Colorado. She said, “Your children are the best behaved children I have ever seen. We get all kinds of families through here so I see how kids behave and yours were really different.” She went on to tell me how she had ridden with them on the elevator and they were so polite.
The second time was at a photo shoot in California last summer with Locke and Croft. They were assigned a child advocate by the state that stays with children on sets to make sure they aren’t taken advantage of. After spending the day with my kids, the child-advocate commented to me that my kids were different than any of the other models she had worked with. My kids weren’t little brats. There weren’t any tantrums. She couldn’t believe how pleasant and great they were. (Now this could be because they aren’t models. This was their first and only gig and they were just regular kids doing my sister a favor.)
And the third time was just last night, when we got off a 17 hour train ride/experience at 3:00 in the morning. The man who sat by our family the entire ride came up to me as we were getting our luggage. He said, “You guys have great kids. They were so well behaved. They did awesome to be in a train that long. My kids never could have done it. You should be very proud of them.”
Again, I was reminded by a stranger that my kids are already good kids. Yes, there were a few fights on the train, Locke threw a fit or two, and the conductor did reprimand us at one point for playing dominoes too loud, but overall, they are good kids.
Instead of focusing on the times when I hear “I hate this dinner” I want to remember that I also hear “Thanks mom. This was so good!” just as often.
Kids have their moments, they aren’t perfect, but neither am I. And they are good just like they are.