Sunday, October 7, 2007

Falling short

It’s been a loooooong weekend. Marcus has spent many minutes in the corner. He’s been the unhappy recipient of a few spanks. It has not been pretty.

Every time I lose my temper, I resolve to be more patient, to keep my cool. I resolve to appreciate anew the blessing that is this little boy. And then, he unleashes his defiant, rebellious 2-year-old self. And I forget all those promises I made to myself, and to God, and I lose it. (I have seen him torment Todd, too, so I know it really isn’t personal… although sometimes it feels that way.)

I guess this is an ongoing process, this changing of my angry, short-tempered heart into an all-loving, grateful heart. And honestly, I can put these broken parenting resolutions in a big sack alongside other areas of my life where I resolved to change, to be better, and then failed again and again and again. Can’t we all think of areas where we made a commitment and fell far short? That metamorphosis (step forward, fall on your face, stand up and take another step, fall again) is all part of becoming a caring and effective parent, a supportive spouse, a thankful daughter or son, a considerate friend.

I cling to my belief that the awareness of failure has to be a step in the right direction. When you know that you need to keep working at it, keep praying, keep trying—surely that knowledge of your own shortcomings increases momentum in the right direction, toward the person you know you are capable of being. We can’t do it alone; maybe our repeated failures are intended to remind us of our absolute dependence on the Father. Thankfully, my failures as a parent--and my child's stubborn, self-reliant nature--can remind me that just as we love our little children (a.k.a. monsters) unconditionally, we are loved that way, too.

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