Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Happy Birthday, Raccoon!

This month you turn five. Yes, I bought you the carnivorous plant kit you picked out, but I also have something else to give you.

I was talking on Sunday with a friend who is having serious trouble with her 8 year old son. I have been thinking about fear, and how children get so many negative messages. As parents, I think we all fear for our children's futures at some point. We wonder if we're doing enough, too little, or too much. Bad behavior points to bad parenting, right? Fear pushes parents into anger, shaming, and in some cases, violence.

There has been a lot of anger and exasperation coming out of me lately, and I want to break that cycle. I wrote the affirmation below for my friend to tell her son when they are struggling. When we fostered N and J, I would tell them a similar version whenever they were at their most difficult.

I want all of my children to grow up with this written on their hearts. That will only happen if they hear it over and over. My hope is that by affirming what I know to be true, and what I hope for, in those moments when I'm about to lose it, my perspective (and my friend's) will be restored to deal with the problem at hand:

"You are special. God loves you so much and so do I. I am glad you belong to me. You are kind, respectful, compassionate, helpful, patient, and resilient. You are capable. You can express your feelings. Your abilities will grow with practice and hard work. You are a wonderful child. God has great plans for your life. We all make bad choices sometimes, and there are consequences, but I will be here with you and I will always love you."

So Raccoon, my gift to you is to yell less and say I love you more, to tell you often how amazing you are, to help you follow your dreams, to hug you, and to spend time together (trying to hit all 5 love languages).

Happy 5th birthday to my buddy!

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