I love having kids. They are constantly teaching me new things, like how to enjoy life, and how fun it is to rake the leaves then back up ten feet and run and jump into the pile. The best gifts I have received from my kiddos, though, are patience, humility, and honesty.
Patience is seemingly one of my strong points. Other mothers are constantly asking me how I am so calm. One friend recently asked me, "Do you ever yell at your children?" Yes, I do occasionally lose my cool with them. Less often now that I am more seasoned as a mom (my oldest is almost ten) yet much more frequently than I would prefer. Patience is like an art that I am trying to master and every day I come so close to really getting it. I pray for it, I find scripture that speaks of it, but truthfully it's like a foreign language. You have to immerse yourself in patience, letting go of all your expectations of how things should be and dealing with how they really are.
Home schooling has definitely helped in this area. Just because I expected both of my girls to reading Shakespeare in early elementary doesn't mean they were ready to. There is nothing so rewarding, though, as sitting across from a child who's proverbial light bulb has just been lit and they 'get' whatever I was teaching them. It's like a reward for your patience.
The humility part came in a more round-about way. I make their breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I'm not talking gourmet, but I do make healthy meals. I do laundry, keep our schedule, send out bills, and a million other things. There have been moments that I felt resentful for all of these things, but now I see it as my way of blessing my children. I enjoy serving their needs as well as teaching them to care for others. I also enjoy making sure my husband has things that he likes to eat in the pantry and fresh coffee in the morning. It really is humbling to care for others.
Children do not like being lied to. They understand that, "Maybe later," usually means "No.", so we should just say what we mean. I want to be honest with them about everything so that they don't feel confused or let down when something doesn't happen. I have learned that following through with a promise is more important to a child than almost anything else in their lives. If they feel let down by a parent, or other adult who is important, it is difficult for them to trust. There have definitely been moments when I wanted to spare my children from momentary disappointment by lying, but I force myself to be truthful. I have had to say, "I have wasted too much time on the computer, we do not have time to go to the library."
I'm so thankful for these three little gifts God has given me, and in turn for the huge gifts He has allowed me to raise them up.