I went to a mothering event at our church this morning and it was so very good. Filled up 5 pages in my journal good. The speaker, Marty Sholars, said something that will forever change the way I parent Karis:
"Stubborn and Tenacious are very different things."
I have known since very early on that I might have a strong-willed child. From how she nursed to how she moved on to developmental milestones to how she responded to people, it was pretty clear she was strong-willed.
I don't know where she could've inherited that gene. Wink.
Anyway, I have never wanted to label her as strong-willed. It seems like so many parents label their child that and I didn't want it for her. I never liked strong-willed or stubborn. I didn't want to put Karis in such a negative box even though the description was fairly accurate.
Conversations always go like this now a days:
Most Any Person I Talk to: "How's Karis?"
Me: "She's doing really well. Really coming into her personality now!"
Person: "Oh I'm so sorry. No one tells you the terrible twos start at 12 months and end at 3."
Not so encouraging. Or helpful.
The truth is I really do love this stage.
Hear me clearly though: I am very challenged by this stage. Very challenged.
But I love that Karis can now perfectly communicate what she likes. And, even though I hate flailing tantrums in public, I love that she can tell me what she doesn't like. While I feel like I am a broken record of "no" all day. I love that she will now point at iPhones and electrical outlets and say, "no-no-no." I love watching her understand things. I think this is such a neat age to see her come into who she is and not who I am guessing she is. Does that make sense?
So back to the quote. "Stubborn and Tenacious are very different things."
When Marty said that she said to foster that spirit within your child. Encourage tenacity but set up boundaries to prevent stubbornness. Speak blessings over them, don't curse them.
I think about myself as a child. Many labeled me as hyper. And what did they get? An out of control child who wasn't allowed to have caffeine or sugar till I turned 13. A child who felt like I could live outside of the normal lines because that was who I was.
But my mom never once called me hyper. She called me vivacious. That is still a word that makes me puff up with pride. She was enthralled by my zeal for life. Yes she put boundaries on me. But she let me find joy in things and feel passion to my core. She encouraged me to be me every day, instead of who she wanted others to see me as.
So as I no look at Karis, I want her to be tenacious. I want her to have a zest for life. I want her to not take no as an answer (most of the time). I want her to learn to fight and and not give up. I want her to have confidence in her abilities. I want her to fight for what she believes is right. I believe the Lord could use her in crazy ways if she doesn't loose her tenacity. I don't want to squelch that. I want to grow it within healthy boundaries.
So what about you? What is a label you've always worn? What could you trade it in for?