Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Broken Things. Not Broken Spirits.


The journey into toddler-dom is a fast and furious journey! Who knew what an incredible difference there was between a crawler and a walker?
                             
                                And most importantly, WHY DIDN'T YOU WARN ME?!

The result of this adorable tangle of curls toddling about the house is a slightly less-than-adorable path of destruction. It's impressive really, the sheer amount of disarray that can come about in 2 minutes flat. Each day, I preform a series of mommy-math calculations to determine the cost/benefit analysis of the each activity.


It looks a little like this:
        one private potty trip for mommy > or < possible toddler catastrophe mid-bathroom usage
    benefits of unloading the dishwasher > or < Tupperware lids thrown across the kitchen by the kid
      one hour of  toddler destroying a deck of cards > or < cost of deck of cards from .99c store

 Now, if you know anything about me, it's that sometimes I struggle with loving 'things'-- attaching sentimental value to inanimate objects. As a girl, I sealed my Barbies and special toys in labeled Ziplock bags to save for my future children. *weird kid* Even now, I like to temper these tendencies by watching episodes of Hoarders. This sentimentality has it benefits, like the fact that I cherish most of the items in my home, and I have a special affection for preserving family mementos and traditions.. but my toddler doesn't share this passion.

She breaks things, you guys. She BREAKS them. While I was still pregnant and only envisioned snuggling and cuddling the little baby hiccuping in my tummy, I resolved to communicate several values to her throughout her life.  Coincidentally, one of those values was that:

There will be many ways for to Selah to learn this lesson as she grows older, but during the toddler stage, it's my responsibility to demonstrate this lesson for her. This means that when an object is broken, or a mess is made, my reaction is far more important than the destruction of any material object.  If I speak negatively, raise my voice, or act hostilely as a result of a mess or a ruined 'thing,' it communicates to Selah, that she is less important than my 'thing.'  

I'D RATHER HAVE A BROKEN PLATE, THEN BREAK THE SPIRIT OF MY CHILD.

By extending an attitude of grace and forgiveness to our children within the home, they will then learn to do the same outside of the home. Proverbs 16:24 says  "Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Appropriate discipline and instruction is a necessary part of parenting, but in my life, I've found the most transformative experiences are true encounters with forgiveness and grace-- I can't help but think the same is true for our little ones.



Lots of love,
Lindsey

44 comments:

  1. Such a great concept to teach her. I got screamed at a lot for spilling things or breaking things...to this day I apologize to Rob if I break something!

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    1. It's definitely human instinct to get upset, but I think we're all the better for staying calm. Like you said, our reactions really have lasting impacts.

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  2. "I'D RATHER HAVE A BROKEN PLATE, THEN BREAK THE SPIRIT OF MY CHILD." So important. Things are just that, things, and while it can be hard to let it go at times, I love that your little one will grow up knowing she is more important than any object. Things are much easier to repair than relationships, right? <3

    -Sara-

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    1. Thanks Sara! I'm so excited for your little one; you will be such a great momma :)

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  3. Very true Lindsey! I also struggle with the value of things. I'm HUGELY sentimental. I'm really into heirlooms and genealogy. If Lillian were to ever break anything I wouldn't mind at all; but I have a terribly hard time forcing myself to get rid of anything! I really do need to de-clutter my house though...before I know it I'll have a toddler on my hands!

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    1. Haha! She is growing up so fast!! Move the most special of treasures out of reach, and brace yourself for the ride. :)

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  4. So true! I'm glad my little one is still in the sitting stage and not to crawling or walking yet because I know I'll have to deal with my own attitude when he gets there. Motherhood is full of opportunities to die to self and grow in grace when we mess up!

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    1. Right?! Each new stage brings new revelation and opportunity to become more like Jesus.

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  5. LOVE THIS!!! At first I had to chuckle... because oh my gosh can they or can they not tear apart a house in 2 sec. flat! yikes! But thank you for sharing the part about grace. Something I have personally been trying to work on lately, and asking God to show me especially with my 2 little ones, and it's an area I don't want to forget to practice.. so thank you for the reminder :) ~Bre

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    1. It's funny how slow we are to extend grace to others when we have been given so much.. Parenting gives such a revelation of the Fathers live for us.. Then it makes dealing with a mischevous toddler much more manageable.

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  6. My budding toddler is my 4th child. I don't remember any of the others being as uh,destructive as she is. I can't turn my head for a second. And she cry's when she hears the word no. I need to find a better way to direct her attention elsewhere and still remember she's priceless compared to beloved knick knacks........

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    1. Selah is sweet as can be but really strong willed too! I need all the tips I can get ..

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  7. Seriously... Will you be my best friend?! LOVE this post! ...And I about peed my pants when I got your package in the mail!! Thank you a MILLION! Lily thinks it for her-- but I sneak it away and wear the bag when shes not looking. : )

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    1. I'm so glad you liked it Mandy! Aaand that Lily did too!

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  9. Excellent, Lindsey! One of my favorite stories from my growing up years is how my mom taught me this lesson. She'd spent hours refinishing a nice dresser in the garage, and I rode up, parked my bike with the kickstand, walked away, and my bike fell over and gouged a hole into the side of the dresser!!! Now that I play with furniture, I think I could cry picturing the time I cost her, but she made a deliberate choice to tell me (and live it out!) that she loved me more than the dresser. Precious!

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    1. Thanks Kat! I actually have a very similiar memory of cutting up my moms new bed sheet to make clothes for my dolls..

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