My heart absolutely swelled with pride Tuesday evening. Jackson participated in his first ever team sport practice. He is a coordinated kid, yes. And that's cool. But that's not what really made me well up with pride. What did it was his behavior. He paid attention. He was tough. He was patient. He listened. He followed instruction. He obeyed his coach.
I love this kid very deeply, and I am so thankful to be his mommy, but I have really been challenged in my parenting by this guy. Up until about four-and-a-half years of age, he has pushed in every way a toddler/preschooler can. He does not take "no" for an answer. His emotions are usually close to the surface, ready to bubble over (anger surfaced often). He has been easily distracted. These are traits that, if trained up properly, will bring him far in life because they seem to be signs that a person is persistent, thinks outside the box, and has great passion.
That is my Jackson. Persistent. Creative. Passionate. A Leader.
But all along the way, he continues to challenge me and make me wonder if I am doing ANYTHING right. Am I making ANY headway with this kid? Is he going to be a terror in the classroom next year?
But at that T-Ball practice I saw the fruit of all the prayer, consistency and hard work that had been poured into that little guy. So can I just say to you now that if you have a tough kid, don't give up. When you are in the middle of it, it feels like it is never going to end, but before you know it you will be at T-Ball practice amidst a pack of disruptive, spastic, kids and you will see the fruit. You will!!
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. (Heb 12:11-12)
editorial note: I was re-reading this post and I was startled by what I wrote in that last paragraph. Do you ever go back and re-read your posts and think, "Heavens! That's NOT what I meant!!" My heart did NOT come through at all on this one.
So, it sounded like I was saying that I was so incredibly consistent, and so wonderfully prayerful, and am such a hard worker when it came to raising my Jackson. But honestly, what was in my heart when I wrote that was every failure, every frustrating day, every day that I did not have a CLUE what to do. I was remembering all the times I WASN'T consistent. All the times I gave in. And I was remembering, in the midst of trying to train him up, how I carried two of my babies to term, and how much of a louse of a parent I was during those months, and how much TV the kids had to watch while I was sleeping on the couch in the middle of the day, and how tired and grouchy I was...
And then (and only then) was I remembering that through the Lord's help (and the help of my sister and Lindy and a stack of books) how I kept on getting back on that horse, and did not throw my hands up and just give up. But it was not me who was faithful in all these years. It was my Lord. He was my Guide, my Help, my Source. He gently brought me back time and time again to training Jackson properly. He. He. He. Never me.
So, in case my horrible attempt at encouragement left a sour taste in your mouth, I hope that this clarification serves as a little bit of Listerine. Now, here these words again: if you have a Jackson in your quiver, do not - do not - do not give up. Run to your Lord OFTEN for wisdom and strength. Knock on the doors of other moms who have done it before. Keep at the discipline (in order to succeed you must be willing to fail sometimes, too). Because there is fruit - beautiful fruit - in this labor.