Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What I've learned from my Kids

Sometimes I wonder if we are given children more to teach them or more for them to teach us. I'm sure it's probably a bit of both, but I think for myself it seems like they teach me a lot more important lessons than I teach them.

One of the lessons that I've learned is about forgiving. Having two very energetic boys in our house, it is to be expected that there are a lot of bumps, bruises, tears and hurt feelings. The same with any family. Of course since Curious George is three years older, stronger and a bit more lively than Jesse Bear he is usually the perpetrator of much of the damage. I've struggled and struggled with how to deal with him in these setting and have gone around in circles trying to come up with ideas. It's been difficult to say the least. I want very much to teach Curious George to get along with other people and especially his brother. I admit it makes me angry when he hurts JB and the mother bear in me wants to protect my injured child and punish the perpetrator. There have been a few precious times when I've waited instead of doing that and have seen greater lessons being taught than those I could teach. Jesse Bear will often come up and say "Sorry" to Curious George and kiss and hug him even though he was the victim. It softens C.G. so that he will say sorry back. I've wondered if I should still punish C.G. in those instances and I usually decide not to. That simple "sorry" from Jesse Bear helps C.G. recognize that he did something wrong and feel sorry about it. Then J.B. forgives, so I should forgive. That's what the Savior would do.

I'm learning that children can often work out their difficulties on their own in a much better way than we can if we jump in. I think as adults we often want justice and to make things right. We especially want that as parents for our injured children. There is a natural instinct that makes us want to jump in and fix it - to put on the bandaid, kiss it better and punish the perpetrator for his crimes. Children are so much better than us at forgiving. They do it naturally. And they forget and move on while we tend to carry the grudge with us like a load of bricks. I've decided that I would much rather teach children about being Christ-like than about justice. If our Heavenly Father put us in a "time-out" every time we made a mistake, most of us would spend most of our lives in "time-outs". Insead all that he requires is true repentance - where we recognize our mistake, confess it, try to make it right and ask for forgiveness. When we've done that, He forgives us completely and forgets that we've even made the mistake. We start again fresh as if we hadn't even made the mistake. Since He is the perfect parent, we can learn a lot by following that example. And our children can help us, it seems so often that they already know.

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