Monday, May 14, 2012

Scared Parenting

Recently, I have discovered a new trend in parenting styles..... I call it "Scared Parenting".  I say "new" but I would venture to guess that it really isn't all that new.  The parents that practice this particular style say things like, "Well, I'm afraid if I do ___(fill in the blank)_____ then my child will be upset", "I don't want to do that because she might get mad", "He really hates when I do ______________ even though I know it's for his own good" or "The last time I did that (think of a particular punishment) she got so upset.....".  These might also be the same parents that "Count (ie: "Do what I say....1...2...3...4....5 alright, here I come!)  This parenting style is dictated by how the CHILD will react or how onlookers/other parents/other children will react.  I have seen this from the perspective of a teacher and a parent.  Parents that use this style are also eager to be their child's friend and not the disciplinarian.  But most of all, these parents are absolutely TERRIFIED of upsetting or embarrasing their children. 

I remember a story told by James Dobson.  One day he came out to see his daughter digging a hole in the ground.  When he asked what she was doing, she said she was planting rose petals.  When he asked her "Why?" she replied that she wanted a rosebush to grow. He explained to her that in order to get a rosebush you had to grow the plant from a small sprout, it must be protected from the harsh elements and nurtured.  Occasionally, you will have to prune the plant and feed it plenty of fertilizer and fresh water. After a long time and lots of hard work..... THEN you get the rose.  That is your reward.  So it is in parenting.  After lots of Hard work (and it takes a LONG time!) you get the reward of being friends with your child. 

When I was teaching school, I had a huge sign that spanned the length of my chalkboard (it was a real chalkboard so that tells you how long ago it was that I taught school!).  The sign said, "That which is easy is not always right and that which is right is not always easy."  How true.  Being a "mean Momma" does NOT make you the most popular girl around.  Telling your child "no" when it would be much easier to say "yes" is not the fun way of doing things.  Requiring your child to take responsibility for their actions and allow them to partake of natural consequences is sometimes tough to witness.   

Now, needless to say, my children are right smack in the middle of growing up.  I am certainly not the world's greatest parent.  I am well aware that tougher days are coming!    However, as I pray throughout the day for my children, I don't pray for their happiness.  No, I pray for their contentment.  I want them to stay so close to their Savior that, no matter what their circumstances, they will rest in His care and plan.

So, I'm OK with being the "Meanest Momma in the World".  And I'm OK with hearing, "Do I HAVE to?".  I'm OK when my children's friends say things like, "Wow, your mom is strict!".  It's OK that our kids don't have everything..... the newest this, the most updated that or the most expensive whachacallit. I am just working as hard as I can to be the best momma I can to these little lives that have been entrusted to me.......

And I'm not Scared! 



Monday, March 26, 2012

Are you a Member?

Over Spring Break this year, our family had a chance to visit Disney World. After a patchwork of discounted rooms and good deals on rental cars we had everything ready. Two days worth of driving landed us in the Hilton Hotel and Resort in Orlando across from Downtown Disney. So Cool! We checked in and found our room. Mike mentioned that he was NOT impressed with the staff that did our check in. Now, he travels wwaaaayyyy more than I do and because I didn't really know the difference, the check in process was foreign to me. We got our room key... what's the big deal? I just kinda shrugged my shoulders and we all headed out to Disney!!!!

The next morning, Mike called down to the front desk and asked for extra coffee for our in room coffee pot. After looking at our account on the computer the front desk clerk said housekeeping would be happy to help. "However, Mr Pendergrass, you could get plenty of coffee down at the Gold Member lounge......" What? Nobody told us about this? With Mike's job, he travels a lot. I mean....... A LOT. As a result, he stays at the same hotel and has earned hotel points. That makes him a member of some secret hotel club. Yes, we are very high end. Apparently we were supposed to be informed of all the perks upon check in...... but we weren't. We soon found out that a Full On breakfast was waiting for the Royal Pendergrass's in the Hilton Honors Lounge. After the front desk realized we were in this special-hotel-Gold-member-secret- membership-thang they treated us TOTALLY different. They answered the phone different, they talked to us differently as we left the hotel, they went outoftheirway and fellalloverthemselves to be out New Best Friends. Hmmmm...... something smells fishy. And not just because we were near the beach.

When we were just a Run Of the Mill family from Arkansas we got Run Of the Mill treatment. No special "Yes Mr Pendergrass" or "Right away Mr Pendergrass". However, once the staff realized we were members of The Club..... well that changed everything.

So, I started thinking.... do I do this in my everyday life? What I mean is- when I first meet someone do I treat them one way and then when I find out they are a Believer or that they go to a church (ie: they are a member of "The Club") do I treat them a different way? Now, don't get me wrong..... I don't MEAN to do this. I would like to think that I treat everyone the same- Believer or not. But do I? If I want EVERYone to be a member of "The Club" shouldn't I treat everyone equally? The more I thought about this, the more convicted I became.

So now it's a science project :-). "Emily's Study of How I Treat Total Strangers"....... to be continued..........