Monday, March 10, 2014

Be Gentle With Your Children

This past weekend I had an experience that truly stopped me in my tracks.  It broke my heart and brought tears to my eyes.  It has bothered me all day to the point that I really haven't been able to think about anything else.  I share the following with everyone in hopes that if even for today, you remember to be gentle with your children.  They are a gift!

As I walked through a large department store I was very aware for the first time in a long time of people around me and what they were saying.  Usually I rush into a store and out because I am always in such a hurry but today, I had a little time and I was enjoying a leisurely walk.  As I traveled down a very long aisle I noticed a young mother speaking so sharply to her child and I had trouble not looking directly at her and asking her to stop but as soon as she passed, another parent who was walking toward me with a little boy, pulled on his arm and yelled at him - in the store!  Again, my heart sank and as I looked in his eyes I could see his pain and all I wanted to do was pick him up and hug him.  Since approaching this woman was not an option either, I kept walking.

Turning the corner I came upon a family whose mother was reprimanding her pre-teen daughter and again, I could see the daughters misery as she looked at me in an embarrassed state and then down to the floor.  The girl mumbled a smart remark to her mother but I don't think her mother heard because she just kept walking and left her whole family behind.  Again, how my heart ached.

I immediately thought of my own children and how I have treated them over the years.  In my own mind I think I was a pretty good mother and I hope that when they think of me that they think of a mother who was loving, kind and patient - most of the time anyway. Don't we all hope that?  But I do remember times when I was less then comforting and didn't give my children the time that they deserved and for this, I am sad from the depths of my soul. These thoughts and memories bring tears to my eyes.

For most new mothers each baby brings with him/her light, the hope of a joyful and fun filled childhood, the opportunity to share your knowledge, your love, your understanding of the world and how they can thrive in it and most importantly, teaching your children the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I had high hopes for my role as a mother and I must admit, I thought that things would come pretty easily for me in this role and that very little would get in my way.

Of course, one thing motherhood is not is easy.  It is fun, it is exciting, it is tiring, it is exasperating, it is long hours and long nights, it is beautiful, it is happy and sad, it is the best thing I have ever done and there is no doubt about that in my mind.  This is what I had planned to do with the last three quarters of my life while I was still in the first quarter of my life.  All I ever wanted to be was a mother.

When my boys were very young there were some days when I would be completely spent by the time my husband got home from work and as he walked in, I was ready and sometimes did, walk right out the door behind him to get a few precious moments to myself. I loved my children beyond measure but there were days when I just needed to be alone. At the time I felt guilty but I wish someone would have told me that those were natural feelings.  It didn't happen often but my husband was always so understanding when I needed that time and to me, that was an invaluable gift.

I understand that there are days when nothing seems to go right or we are pushed beyond the breaking point for many reasons but we should never let our children be the brunt of that frustration.  They are so dependent on us for everything in life but most of all love and understanding.  Those children that I mentioned at the beginning of this post may have been pushing their parents to a degree, kids do that sometimes, but there has to be a better way to deal with those moments where we feel that we are left with no other choice but to yell or use force.  What is the worst feeling in life?  For me it is looking back and wishing that I had treated someone better and knowing that I can't change the past.  This is a most difficult feeling when it is a family member. Don't let that happen to you.

Love your children.  Get to know your children.  Spend time with each of your children. Explain things to them.  Love and work on your relationship with your spouse for your children.  Live the Gospel of Jesus Christ for yourself, your spouse and your children.   Let them know that you care about their thoughts and feelings and they will be less trying at times and someday, they will try to emulate you and they will be ever so grateful that they had a mother like you.

Happy Mothering!

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