Thursday, September 23, 2010

Are Your Kids Proud of You?

One of the chefs on Top Chef Desserts said last week "I want to win this so that my boys will know their mom did something great."

I think that there is probably a greater legacy one can leave their children than winning a TV reality competition, but I do get where she's coming from.

My daughter -- as much as I may bemoan the adolescence that has overcome our home -- is a very sweet girl.  She is full of kindness, and mercy, and forgiveness.  She loves me with her whole heart.

I have often heard people say that we can better understand God's love for us when we have children, because of how we love them.  May I be the first to say that I do NOT love my children in the way that I know God loves me -- unselfishly, strictly with my best interest in mind, with unlimited forgiveness and acceptance.  I don't.  But you know what?  My kids do love me that way.  When I lose my cool, they forgive me.  When I jump to a wrong conclusion, they give me a second chance.

I lost my cool a couple of weeks ago when Amanda was working on a project for school.  They were supposed to find some pictures and print them out, or cut them out of a magazine of things that represented them -- their family, their interests, their strengths, what they are proud of.

Our printer network is not very reliable.  I had to leave to go to Amanda's open house, so I had told her several times, "Get this done before I have to leave, because I won't be able to help you."

Well, she didn't.  And I didn't just leave and force her to accept that consequence (which is absolutely what I should have done).  I left late after fiddling (not quite successfully) with the printer.  I ended up yelling and berating her and telling her to figure it out herself because "Now YOU MADE ME LATE!"

She didn't make me anything.  I extended her just enough rope to hang myself with.

The next morning I asked if she got what she needed, and she said she did.  I saw the papers she had printed out, which included headers from 5 Minutes for Books and the local online newspaper I write for.

"You know what those banners were for?" she asked.  "Those are things I'm proud of."

Yes, she's proud of me.  And while it may seem that she was trying to stick it to me with that comment ("Do you think you are someone worthy of my pride?") I don't think that's where she was going with it.  I think she felt sorry she had pushed me, and it was her way of offering up her apology -- and yes, forgiveness, too, reminding me about who she thinks I am.

I think that their pride in us comes only after they know they are loved.  I could be busy and accomplished, and it wouldn't matter at all if I didn't love my kids.  But because I somehow fit in a life of my own around life as their mom, they are proud of my life outside of being their mom.

Are your kids proud of you?  You might make a killer apple pie, or sew prom dresses, or paint pictures or walls.  You might have a job that helps others or requires skill.  You might make great sound effects when you read aloud.  If you asked your kids, what would they say?


Barb @ 1SentenceDIary said...

What a great question, and a great post. I am often surprised when I hear my kids say something like, "my mom knows *everything* about computers." (um, by the way, I really am not much of a computer expert!)

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

You are so right that kids have an amazing ability to love and forgive when we adults blow it. My kids are still too little to really understand the concept of being proud (in a good way) of someone but I hope they will one day be proud to say I'm their mom.

amanda said...

Love you too mommy :) and yes, I'm super proud of you.

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

Aw, I love this post...and I might love Amanda's comment even more! So sweet. C. is often telling me that I'm a genius, even though I'm not. But since I can figure out any computer issue, AND help him with math, that qualifies in his mind. :)