Friday, October 12, 2012

31 Days of Repetitive Parenting: Day 12 "I'm Sorry."

Probably one of the best things we can ever say to our children, besides "I love you!," is "I'm sorry."  If you're new to parenting, have a seat, take a deep breath and prepare yourself for some shocking news: you will mess up.  Yup, we all do.  Go ahead, take a minute if ya need to get over your dream of being the perfect parent.

Welcome back.

If we come into parenting with high expectations, and an idealistic hope of being the next June Cleaver, then we are in for a rude awakening.  The cold hard fact about parenting is that it is a process of flawed human beings raising other flawed human beings. Indeed, parenting often exaggerates our particular character flaws as we see them reflected in our own little cherubs.  On the plus side, it also magnifies those wonderful character traits we do possess.  As we see our kid's personalities develop, we marvel at how much they act like us...both good and bad.

Parenting involves instruction and discipline as we guide and direct our kids into an understanding of right and wrong.  Admitting to our children that we have done something wrong, shows them strength and consistency.  It would be much easier to ignore my own infraction, but by doing so I miss out on a teachable moment.  When I apologize to my kids, not only am I allowing them the opportunity to learn how to forgive, but also demonstrating that the behavior I expect from them is the same that I expect from myself.  More importantly, it is behavior that God desires from each of us - parent and child.

These days we are in the midst of the Thundering Three's with our youngest kiddo.  This particular age comes with moments of great joy and frustration on my part, sometimes these emotions are separated only by mere seconds.  The blossoming of her little personality means she is attempting to assert herself more and more each day.  My role is to try and help her learn what is appropriate and what is not.  Toddler training can be quite exasperating and I must admit that it is Cupcake to whom I say "I'm sorry" on most days.

At three, she may not completely grasp the concept of forgiveness, but she is learning to forgive nonetheless.  At times when I have raised my voice in exasperation, she has given me a big hug and an "I love you, Mama," when I knelt down to her level with a humble heart and open arms.  Practicing saying "I'm sorry" to my toddler has also reinforced the expectation for her to do the same when she's the one in the wrong.  Of course, she tends to think she has the liberty to demand that her siblings, "say sorry to Mama!" when she sees them arguing with me!  

After years of training our kids to apologize, while also demonstrating to them how to do so, I'm pleased to report that I've got a couple of teens who have been known to say "I'm sorry" unsolicited.  Shocking, but true.  Just goes to show ya, "I'm sorry," is definitely worth repeating!

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