Raising a good kid

“Don’t let yourself become so concerned with raising a good kid that you forget you already have one.”

                                                                                     Glennon Melton  momastery.com

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I am guilty of the above.  Sometimes my son makes unkind decisions.  He can be mean to his siblings.  He can be disrespectful.  He can be self centered and inconsiderate.  He can be whiny and ungrateful.  He can be, well, a six year old kid.

In those moments, my first instinct is guilt.  I have yelled too much.  I am too distracted.  I am too overwhelmed.  I am too anxious.  I don’t have enough patience.  I myself have not been kind enough.

My next instinct is worry.  Will he be an unkind person as he grows?  Will our constant lessons of peacefulness and respect be lost on him?  Will he learn to give, to be helpful, to be grateful?

My final instinct is frustration.  We try.  We do so much for him and with him.  We are invested in giving him experiences and confidence and love.  We practice gratefulness.  We show kindness.  Why is he not following our lead?

Then I remind myself that those are just moments.  Moments during which he may be feeling guilty, or anxious or frustrated.  Moments during which he reacts humanly.  Moments from which he will learn and I will learn.

I remind myself of the moments in which he is kind and loving and empathetic and compassionate.  The moments in which I am in awe of his intelligence, his creativity and his understanding of the world.

Today when I dropped he and his brother off at school, the crosswalk was snowy.  There is typically a teacher to walk my older son, who has difficulty navigating slippery surfaces, from the car to the school.  The teacher hadn’t made it to the car in time.  My six year old son instinctively took his big brother by the arm and held onto him as they walked across together.

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I was so struck by his kindness.  He is learning.  He has learned by watching his parents and teachers help his brother.  But, the act of taking his brother’s arm so naturally without any direction from an adult, that’s the goodness in my boy.  It’s there.  It’s always there.  Even during moments when I forget, it’s there.

I don’t have to feel so frustrated or guilty or worried about raising a good kid.

I already have a good kid.

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