One of the principles we’ve learned over the years in our experiment with this thing called parenting is to pick our battles. There may be a hundred things you wish your children would do differently, but in the end, there are just a handful of things that you would really invest all of your parenting resources into that you might correct them.
Greta made it easy for us this morning. Her defiance and the fire in her eyes as well as the attitude that seemed to resound with every inch of her, from her hair to her toenails, made it quite clear. This is a hill to die on. With how strong willed she is, this is going to be a serious battle.
Greta didn’t want to admit she was wrong. She struggles to admit when she is wrong. In her defense, the control part of her fun/control personality makes this difficult. Just as some folks have trouble speaking in public or being patient enough to pay attention to endless tiny details, control country personalities (with a touch of perfect) can really struggle with admitting they are wrong.
When we told Greta that we had observed the incident ourselves and saw that she was wrong and needed to admit it, she challenged us. Why should I? At the moment I felt like I was the smallest horse rancher ever facing the largest herd of wild mustangs bent on staying wild. The stubbornness that exuded from her could build an insurmountable wall to rival the Great Wall of China. Oh yes! This was an issue we had to meet head on.
It isn’t easy explaining to a 10 year old lives for the moment girl that conquering her inability to admit wrong now will serve her for the rest of her life. I have a feeling that this issue will return for many more conversations. Things that seemed to be issues yesterday now pale in comparison. But Greta’s personality has set her up to be a great leader. If she can conquer this hurdle – admitting when she is wrong – she will be a beloved leader and not an arbitrary tyrant. The world needs great leaders. Greta is fearless. The world needs fearless leaders like Greta. We are currently accepting any and all prayers on our behalf as we tackle this challenge. God help us. He created Greta this way and He has great plans for her life. He must have much faith in us that we can raise her to be the great leader He had envisioned.
Confirmation. It’s a lovely thing to get. People look at you weird for what you are doing and for just a moment you begin to let those doubts creep in through those tiny little alleys of disbelief you left open. Then when you need it most, confirmation comes! It doesn’t always happen like that. Sometimes you already know you are on the right track, but the confirmation is just an added bonus. No matter how it comes, confirmation is a treasure.
We have done the Flag Page Test on every member of our family. After realizing that (out of the top two “countries” you could be assigned to) four out of the five of us totally love fun country. Let’s hear it for fun country! So what do you do with this information? My husband started a Friday night tradition, joke night. Friday night was already special, reserved for my famous beans and for many around the world – the beginning of the blessed peace of Sabbath rest. To this we added joke night. Each family member gets a turn at choosing the topic and all the jokes have to align with that.
Musical terms come up a lot as topics, as do things around the house that are in sight and inspirations from the activities of the day. We thought we had a terrible topic one night – porcupine, but amazingly it was one of our most creative. Example, what did the girl porcupine say to the boy porcupine when he picked her up for a date? Wow, you look sharp tonight. The running joke in the family is the “factory joke.” Somehow no matter what the topic is, there is always a joke based on a factory. You don’t really want to know.
So what does this have to do with confirmation? My husband was doing his usual surfing various pastoral ministry sites that he visits often and he found an article about the importance of bonding time in pastoral families, and especially humor. Thousands of pastors leave the ministry each year because the burden becomes so much. This goes across the board in just about any denomination. The impact of ministry burdens on pastoral families, as you can imagine, is enough to make some kids grow up and never step foot in a church again. If you haven’t thanked your pastor lately for all the things he/she does, many of which can’t be talked about because they were spoken in confidence, take the time to do so. Pastor Appreciation Month is coming up in October. You could start planning now. It just might be the lift your pastor needs during a difficult moment.
So as Karl read to me the data on the importance of pastoral families sharing fun times together, I was grateful we had our new joke night tradition each Friday. Special family traditions aren’t limited to pastoral families. I’m pretty sure nearly every family can benefit from more moments of quality time spent together in a fun and memorable manner.
How are you bonding with your family? How are you forging memorable connections that will keep those kids coming back each Christmas for years? I hope it makes you smile.