Another mom commented that she must be a “bad” mom because she loved it when the kids were gone. (At least for a while.)
And we had a chuckle over it. But it got me thinking about how often we classify ourselves and those with whom we have relationship. Especially kids.
Our knee jerk reaction when we see our kids misbehaving. Or our reaction to that idiot who just cut in front of you on the highway. The snotty receptionist you inconvenienced by wanting to do business with her company.
Bad, bad, BAD! You are BAD human beings!
Or like in the delightful story of Madeline and her fellow orphans, we frown on the bad and smile at the good.
The nice person holding open the door. Your child’s clean room.
Good girl! Good boy! I LIKE you!
This causes a “good” response, right? (See, there I go again using that language.)
Well, I can see how that can be just as destructive as screeching “Bad” every time someone doesn’t live up to your expectations or violates one of your pet peeves. (How about the sacred cow of children speaking disrespectfully to their parents? Nothing can incite the umbrage of a parent quite like that one!)
Or how about this. A very dear friend of mine pulls out the china and has a beautifully set table when she invites you for dinner. (“It shows people you care,” she says.) Does this mean the single mom who pulls out the paper plates and a pot of beans like another friend means she doesn’t care?
Are either of these ladies right or wrong? Of course not! They were both serving from the heart.
The pesky problem is that when we base our relationships off of what we deem “good” or “bad” it quickly puts a funky spin on how we relate to one another.
Soon it all becomes about behavior (or the china/paper plate discussion) instead of a heart connection. This is especially problematic if your emotions are as capricious as mine can be…especially at that time of the month (when the AT&T bill arrives.) I’ll tolerate a behavior one day and find it an offense punishable worthy of…of…well, something really bad.
It’s that law thing working in us that Paul talks about in Galatians. (I think the message in Galatians can be summed up by saying, “Who died and left you in charge?”)
Well, goody for you, Theresa. (Yeah, I heard that snide comment in the back of the room.) Does this mean we allow our kids to run a muck and all go on Prozac to keep from flipping off that driver?
I can only speak for myself. By slowing down my reaction to look at the heart behind the behaviors, I find I can curtail a significant portion of frustration. (This is becoming VERY important as we navigate the waters of adolescence right now.)
On the other hand, if I just resign myself to being a barking law keeper in the home…it will destroy relationships.
I’ve been using the phrase, “It is what it is” quite a bit lately. It’s been more disarming to my tempestuous emotions than the Good/Bad language that’s filled so much of my life.
When we free ourselves and others from our expectations, a truly beautiful, life-giving thing takes place: Grace happens.
I’m glad that God’s not up there calling me a “good mom” or a “bad mom.” I think if he does use an adjective it would be loved.
A Loved Mom. Yes, I like that.