Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Power of Apology

I don't think anyone will ever argue that learning the art of parenting is a direct route. There's a lot of meandering and guessing and detouring and driving in unwanted circles. 

When my kids hit the age where arguments naturally evolved into our interactions- at the ripe age of TWO I'm sure- I wasn't sure how to handle my mama "power". Was it okay that I yelled at them every now and then and lost my temper? Did I owe them an apology? Or was my behavior just warranted as part of my role?

The other day, I was fired up to hear Porter and Deeter fighting yet again. Holy moly, those two are like oil and water. {Which usually means one thing…they're a lot alike!} And this can be taxing on me. I mean, for real, dealing with those two can require the endurance of a marathon. No lie. And unfortunately for those two hooligans, I had hit breaking point. I was tired of being patient. At which time, I {unconsciously} decided to stop the patience train and lose it on their little selves. Es posible that meant yelling and grabbing and possibly throwing. I can't say for sure specifically what tactics I was using to act like a three year old. And guess what the end result was? I bruised my little Porter's soul. Shocking, right? He was mad at me, as warranted. 

After years of doing the meandering and circling and detouring and essentially getting humbled, I've figured a little something out. I knew exactly what to do. When we had both simmered, I pulled my little sir in softly and waited til I felt him relax. I whispered to him that I was sorry. That I had done him wrong. I didn't comment on what he had done wrong. I was admitting my faults and my responsibility- that even though I'm his mom and a grown adult, there's no excuse for my behavior. I told him I would work on it and thanks for being patient as I'm learning to be a better mom. I'm learning.

I've been thinking about this {reoccurring} incident over the last couple days, and…BOOM TIME...it hit me. I've had an epiphany. 

Mamas, I've figured it out- I know why we can't be "perfect".

The biggest anything we have to offer our kids is ourselves. What we do, when we react, how we love, simply who we are teaches our little ones layers of lessons- lessons that are taught without an audible word.

One guarantee offered across the entire human species is this: we're going to mess up. Our perfect intentions will fall short. Our perfect efforts won't quite achieve. Our heated moments won't represent ideal. We are imperfect beings, point blank.

With the acceptance of that comes the question-- then what? When we fall short, don't achieve, screw up...then what?

And hence comes the need for us mamas to embrace our imperfection and use it as yet another unspoken teaching point.

If we were perfect, we would never have the opportunity to teach our kids by example how to say 'I'm sorry.' We would be missing out on the opportunity to teach our kids by example that it's okay to mess up. That it's okay to try again after we've made a mistake. We would never be able to teach by example that we are lovable and worthy and valuable in our current state of imperfection. If we were perfect, we would be robbing our children of some of the most beautiful lessons life has to offer. We are offering ourselves as the object lesson, the visual aid. We are silently prodding, "Do as I do."

What an incredible gift we are granting them by being- and loving- our imperfect selves. 

Instead of beating myself up for not being perfect, I'm shifting my focus to hone in on my skills of what I do when I act lesser than. I want to master a sincere apology, to find the courage to try again after messing up for the 100th time, to admit when I'm wrong and jump right back on the horse. That's my new focus.

Mamas, let's not cheat our kids of learning some of life's most important lessons through the most important learning tool there is out there- and that is the power of example.

photo by Rachel Thurston

7 comments:

  1. Thanks for this wonderful reminder! It's easy to beat yourself up sometimes when you hit a wall and your patience has run thin.

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  2. Gay! could you be any cuter?! I love that your blog is so open and honest. You are an amazing woman! consider me your newest follower! so happy to meet you in person! You are adorable!

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    1. You are too sweet! Thanks for the compliments. It was great meeting you also- you're definitely a stand out kind of girl!

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  3. Ditto. I couldn't agree more. Thanks for reminder!

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  4. Good read, mama! I stumbled across this the other day, “A lot of mothers will do anything for their children, except let them be themselves” –Banksy. How true. You’re on to something here. You are giving your kids the best example they can have by allowing yourself to be you, by being aware, honest, raw, and forgiving. By allowing them to learn on their own to love, forgive, and LIVE, even if fighting happens along the way. It’s all part of our journey and theirs alike. Your kids are so blessed to have you as an imperfect mama, and so blessed are you to have them! xoxo

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  5. I couldn't agree with you more! I will be referring back to this post often, actually, maybe I should just print out a hardcopy for myself. You truly are a wonderful example of what a mother should be. Love you!

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