Monday, June 8, 2015

A Few Good Men: Finding & Following Solid Parenting Advice

I rarely ask for advice. Not because I think I know everything. Though I do feel that God has equipped us all with a measure of common sense that some of us are more likely to utilize than others... More often though, I don't ask for advice, because I'm unwilling to be overwhelmed with a ton of opinions that belong to people who may or may not be qualified to offer them.

When I do ask for advice, I am asking from a select group of people. They are not "yes" men. They are people who's track records prove them to be wise. They are trusted counselors. Official or not.

Friday I asked for advice. I got an answer that I didn't really want to hear, but I got the answer I needed to hear.

See, I've got this boy who is quickly approaching teenager status. I want to maintain a good relationship with him. I want to hear him. I want to challenge him. I want to be the parent. It's such a delicate balancing act...

Both our boys are signed up for a 5k race in about 2 weeks. Freckles loves the races. He loves the training. He has the heart for it. He is not very tall yet, but he digs in and gives it all he's got.

BMV, on the other hand, has a body for running. He is tall and skinny, with long legs. He could really get out there and kick butt. But he doesn't want to. He doesn't like running. He doesn't like pushing himself. He really doesn't like any activity that he doesn't immediately excel at.

Which irritates the crap out of me. Really and truly. Because I am not the best at anything, but I don't give up. And when something starts to become easy, I raise the bar. I push myself.

So, I just don't understand this mindset of his. It's not that I am determined that he is going to be like me and be a runner.

It's that I want him to learn that most things in life don't come easy. You have to work for them. And you have to keep working at them, even when it gets hard.

I'll spare you the details (nutshell: it was not my finest parenting moment), but Friday morning was not good. And I realized that something had to give.

I asked questions of BMV, and I listened to his answers. I didn't give reasons, I listened.

I heard him say that he doesn't like running. And I get it.

I talked to the BFF and asked her what I should do. Should I make him keep running to teach him perseverance? To show him what he is capable of?

Short answer? No.

She reminded me that my relationship with my son was far more important than making him run miles.

There are other ways he can learn perseverance. There are other ways he can be active. There are other people who can coach him. And I can be his cheerleader.

(This is not to say that there will not be times when I will have to push him, or that I won't let him give up. But this is not that time. Running is not the mountain to die on. Or to have our relationship die on.)

Which is why both boys are now signed up for our communities' summer youth baseball league. It is our first foray into official sports. It is geared towards the kids having fun and learning baseball skills. It will challenge both boys in a good environment. I think it is going to be a really good thing.

They're excited. I'm excited.

It's a discipline for him. It's a discipline for me. It's a chance for me to slow down and listen. 'Cause I really don't have this parenting gig in the bag.

It is hard as a parent to stop and say, I was wrong. I really do have your best interests at heart because I love you, but I was going about this training thing the wrong way. And I am sorry. Will you forgive me?

Anyway, I am writing this on Monday morning, because I was too raw on Friday. Too many thoughts. Too much discouragement. Too much hormonal-to be frank.

But, I was able, and am still able, to see the wisdom in the advice I was given.

You don't need a ton of advisors or counselors. You just need a few good men/women, who are brave enough to speak truth into your life.

Happy Monday!