God has made everything appropriate to its time… Ecclesiastes 3:11
I’m one of those annoying mothers who makes her kids journal over the summer. Although my kids moan and groan about it, they absolutely love going back through what they’ve written and drawn to reminisce about the fun things we’ve done together. So despite the push back, I’m always going to make them do it.
Now that Jocelyn can read and write, this is her first summer where she is journaling independently. I wish I could say it’s going well; but holy canoli, it is sheer torture for the both of us! It’s not that she struggles with the writing; it’s that she’s hypercritical of her pictures. She spends more time erasing than she does drawing.
The bigger issue is the drama that goes along with that: “I’m a terrible artist. I don’t know how to draw faces. The shoes look awful,” and on and on her critique goes. I keep telling her she’s doing a great job, that she’s far better at drawing than I was at her age. But it doesn’t seem to matter.
I believe God intentionally made us flawed so we’d have no choice but to lean on others, and seek Him to become whole. Living that journey means we have to always be assessing ourselves and determining where we need to learn and grow.
God, as the Master Teacher, is always right beside us to help us along the way. If we see something within ourselves that we need to work on, He provides us with the experience or people to teach us and help us through that lesson. If we refuse to recognize a flaw within ourselves, He’ll send us person after person with that same flaw until finally, in our frustration, we see they’re just a mirror of ourselves.
Taking this whole process very seriously, I’m constantly judging everything I say, do and think so I know where I have to improve. I’ve also incorporated this concept into my motherhood.
I know I only have a short window of time when my kids will listen to me. Therefore, I’m constantly critiquing them: trying to help them see what they’ve done right, what they’ve done wrong, and ideas for how to fix their mistakes. It’s my responsibility to prepare them for life. If I can do a good job, they can then go and have a positive impact on the world.
But witnessing Jocelyn’s constant self-critiquing makes me realize enough is enough! Yes, life is short, and we don’t have a lot of time to get things right. But it’s summer! School is out – for the love of Pete! Just like God created the Sabbath so we could all rest, the break from school is so we can all take the pressure off.
I don’t mean I won’t have my kids continue to journal (and a few other tasks I have them do daily). I feel it’s important to keep them focused, and the tasks don’t take much time. I mean we’re all going to lighten up, stop judging anything as good or bad, take the pressure off, and just accept things as they are, silly faces and disproportionate shoes included.
September will be here soon enough. Yes, life isn’t just one big party meant for us to enjoy without strings attached. But summer should be.
So I’m declaring my home a judgement free zone for the summer. I’m going to stop the life-lesson sermons I preach incessantly, and just let those teaching moments pass by. More importantly, I’m going to stop critiquing my kids and myself ALL THE TIME. Instead, I want us to focus on loving ourselves, flaws and all.
Questions For Reflection:
* Am I constantly critiquing myself and my kids to help us become better people?
* If so, do I need a break from that pressure?
* Can I see the summer as a great opportunity to let the pressure off and just enjoy being?
* Have I taught my kids, and myself, to love ourselves, flaws and all?