My Sabbath prayer time this morning was spent sitting on my back deck in the glorious sunshine. I did a little sketching and a little journaling. Talking with God about some difficult parenting stuff.
Most of the struggles right now are with our 16-year-old son who has been diagnosed with ADD and Aspergers. I won’t go into details, you’ll just have to trust me when I say that things are challenging.
I told God all the ways I want my son to change. The things I want my son to start doing and to stop doing. God told me that I cannot make my son change. I can pray for the Holy Spirit to transform him.
I told God that I don’t like the way I feel about my son sometimes. I don’t feel that warm, gushy, “mom” feeling that yesterday’s festivities (Mothers’ Day) were all about. God told me that I cannot control how I feel. I can, however, choose to act in more kind and loving ways.
So I made a list of four simple rules that I will try to follow with my son. At the risk of seeming like a terrible mother (I’m afraid you all will think, “What kind of a mom needs a rule to help her do that?“), I am going to share them here as a means of accountability for myself. And just maybe as a help for other parents struggling with similar challenges:
1. Speak kind words first. (“How was your day?” comes before, “I see you forgot to turn in your math homework again.”)
2. Say “yes” if reasonable. (“Can I have crackers for snack?” Yes. “Can I have four cupcakes for snack?” Still a “no.”)
3. Stay calm and quiet. (a.k.a. Use my inside voice.)
4. Stop arguing. (It takes two people to argue. I know this. I tell my children this all the time.)
It seems like a reasonable list. Wish me luck. Actually, prayers would be better. And God’s guidance to you this week in all the ways you are called to serve and love in this world.