I am having an especially wonderful time with my son. I say this, not because I am playing favorites here, but because for awhile there, my son was a very difficult little boy to love. He was wild, rude, uncontrollable. He wouldn't listen to anything I said. If we went to the grocery store, it was like his sole purpose was to embarass me as much as possible. I would look at other parents of 4 year olds, and be envious of how they stood with their mommies, and listened the first time, as my son ran all over the place and acted as goofy as possible. And despite all this, I did love my son tremendously. I wanted what was best for him. And I wanted him to grow up to be a fine young man with great values and responsibility. And I worried that somehow I was failing with him, and he'd grow up like (*gasp*) his father. I've never had this problem with my daughter. As pre-teenish as she's been lately, she's always been one who understood that I am the mom and she is the daughter, and what I say, goes.
But then Lucas changed. Almost overnight. It's like he turned 5 years old, and suddenly decided that the way he was behaving was not how a 5 year old behaved. He is now listening when told. He stays calm when he needs to, understanding that there is time for play and goofing off, and time for listening and being serious. I can trust him now, sure that he won't be purposefully ruining things in the house. I know that when I tell him to do something, or not to do something, he will listen. It's like he understands the rules of the house, and has decided to abide by them. He is suddenly more loving to everyone, even at school. His teachers have been singing his praises!
And the funny thing is, when I go to his dad's house, it's like he is a different boy. The rules are different there, as there are no consistent ones. I'm not bashing his dad here, it's just the way things are. When I go to pick up the kids, Lucas is absolutely out of control. In the past, it would take days for me to get him back under control and back to "normal". But the past few weeks, it's like he knows that once he enters my car, he's part of a different household and must act accordingly.
I'm hoping that one day he will grow so much that he will be wonderful at both houses. Truth is, there's no harm in the way things are now. He has lots of uninhibited fun at his dad's house, because his dad can handle the noise level and craziness much better than I can, and even contributes to it (another story, much bashing). And he has fun here, I do not limit that. But he learns manners and respect for others here, and it seems that it has suddenly sunk in. The pessimist in me keeps waiting for him to forget all this good behavior. But he's kept it up since just before his birthday at the beginning of the month, so I think he's just growing.
I have a friend who has a 6 year old with severe behavioral problems. And she comes to me for advice, and there are times when I am at a loss for words on how to handle him. But this I know and share with her, love conquers all. If he knows that she loves him and would do anything for him, he will be more apt to please her. But if he's being yelled at constantly, and his discipline is so sporadic that he never knows when he'll get in trouble, he'll be as unstable as the world he lives in. Sometimes it's just as simple as that. I know when Lucas gets difficult, sometimes a hug speaks much more volumes than yelling. I've learned how to effectively parent and discipline my kids with little to no yelling, and our household is much more peaceful because of it.
And this is my religion of love.
Love speaks much more than rules and rules being placed on one's head. I believe my son listens to me because he does not question my love for him. I have become much better about my quality time with him, loving him more than getting on him about stuff. I am definitely consistent in my rules for him, and he has shown me that he undestands. I believe my son is now behaving, not just because he is growing up and maturing (though that is definitely part of it), but he is doing it because he loves me and wants to please me.
God loves us much more than we love our kids, and more than they love us. When I think of it that way, it is indescribable. How can God love me that much, when my love for my kids is so enormous? And knowing that, knowing God's unfathomable love for me, I want to please him and do for him and for his creations. Knowing the love I have for my kids gives me a glimpse into what he feels for me, and makes me love him even more. And it also helps me understand that all the hard times I went through, and all the heartache that has resulted from bad decisions I've made, it has all been God's love for me. He disciplines me because he loves me, and wants the best for me. "do not despise the LORD's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in." Proverbs 3:11-12 He wants to help shape me, because a perfect life will not teach me anything. And I love him even more because of my hard times, and it helps me to get through those times easier now, because he is with me every step of the way. This I know. Just as I am there with my kids, not letting them fall, but supporting them in times of need, God is there unfailingly with me. At times when it kills me that I must bite my tongue, God is there, letting me know that he knows how hard it is, but how proud he is of me for doing so. At times when I have actually let temptation pass me by, I feel how pleased he is of me.
I think the most wonderful part of having kids, is understanding God's love for me through my great love for them. "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure." 1 John 3:1-3 Oh man, I am feeling love today! Thank you God for the love you have given me, and the reminders you place in my everyday life to let me know unquestionably that you love me as your child.