Tuesday, November 5, 2013

People have Issues -- Parenting Through the Little Years (Part Six)

This is Part Six of "Three in Diapers: Parenting Through the Little Years." If you are just tuning in now, please check out the IntroductionPart One, etc. for context and disclaimers.

6. People have issues -- You are skipping from one child to three overnight. And if where you are at is anything like where I am at, that means you are also skipping from hearing, "Your baby is so cute/sweet/precious/etc.!!!" to "My, my, don't you have your hands full!" and "Don't you know what causes that?!?" overnight.

I don't remember how many absolute strangers said to me after we had Mikey (our second), "You're done now. Right??" I got so used to it that I started responding, "Why? Are my children ugly or something?"

One of my friends recently had her third baby and she actually had a stranger tell her that she should be ashamed of herself for having three kids. Seriously.

I had a woman in Costco strongly suggest I abort my third and any subsequent children due to the high cost of college. She had aborted three for that reason.

Similar to the ways that children have a way of exposing the ugliness within us, they also have a way of exposing the ugliness in others. If you haven't heard it from others already, I have no doubt that you will soon, apart from miraculous intervention.  Most of my best "crazy things said" stories come from when I had two to three children. (Hmmm... this might be because I don't go out much with all my kids these days. But that's another post. ;))

But I don't say all of this to scare you.  When I first noticed people coming out of the woodwork -- they'd really stalk me down to say wacky stuff -- I would get defensive and irritated. But it didn't take me long to start feeling sorry for these people. And for their children. Like the children of the woman in the produce section of my favorite grocery store who told me -- a young mom of two at the time -- that she actually regretted having "so many children." Wouldn't you love having her as a mom?

It just all goes to remind me that people have issues. And really, compassion goes a long way when chosen over defensiveness or anger. I've found that much of the time, the snarkyness or negativity coming from others is just a cover for their own pain, traumas, guilt, and heartache.

I have one friend who cheerfully responds to people, "Children are a blessing!" I've watched her as a parent for many years and I know beyond a doubt that indeed, she is blessed by her children. She knows the blessing of children and people believe her when she says it. It's a great testimony.

Now, when someone comments on my children, I take a breath. I spend a half second trying to imagine my life without any certain child. And then I can genuinely look at the person, smile, and say, "I'm thankful for them." They are undeserved gifts.

Children truly are a gift from the Lord. They are amazing. I can look at any of my children and see God's fingerprints on that child -- their timing, their personalities, their strengths. Each of them are a blessing to me, to their dad, their siblings... Each of them are part of God's plan to grow us into the people that God created us to be.

And despite the negativity you can hear in this world, I do believe that people often intrinsically understand that, to varying degrees. And if you can take the time to listen to them instead of merely responding negatively, you often hear a lot more out of their hearts than you bargained for. Sometimes I just get the privilege of praying for people more specifically after our encounter... and sometimes I get the privilege, despite my many imperfections and failings, of pointing them to our awesome God.


I think I'm past the halfway point in this series now. Hooray!! If I still have your attention, come back soon for Part Seven.

1 comment:

Lynne said...

well said friend! love you!