Friday, May 17, 2013

The power of a parent over a child

I observed two ways in which I have such frightening influence over Brady and it has me reflecting on how powerful a parent is to a child:

Distancing from a friend

Brady and his friend at school who have been getting in trouble have finally gotten separated from each other and suspended from the bus for a day for their behavior. Sigh. 

I had warned him something like that was coming if they didn't change the way they behaved together. That night I told Brady he ought to spend some time away from his friend, even on the bus and recess. He was very upset and said that was his best friend and he always would be. I told him I knew no one could change that, but while they may be best friends they weren't bringing out the best in each other.

The next morning he said he had a plan. He would start playing with another boy at school, one who doesn't get in trouble at all. "Do you want me to do that?" he asked. And in that instant, I felt all the weight of parenthood, the responsibility, the power to influence another person.

So I told him, "Brady, that's probably a good idea. It doesn't mean (the other kid) is not your friend, it only means that the two of you both have some behavior struggles at school and when you're together a lot it makes it harder for both of you to solve them." I also told him it's okay to spend time with other friends, not just one person.

I told him it didn't make either of them bad, only that sometimes in life we meet people that we make bad choices when we're around them. And it is equally both of them. Not more the other kid, not more Brady. Gosh, what a hard lesson to learn at 7. I tried to handle it as gently as possible while still telling him they should keep their distance from each other for now.

Learning to pray

The other night I lost my wedding ring. Oh was I upset, even crying. I looked and looked. Jase had his hand down the vent and I had mine in the trash can. After an hour, we gave up. So I prayed about it and said, "God, it's in your hands, please help me find it." And being a non-Catholic Catholic, I threw in some prayers to St. Anthony and St. Joseph too.

The next morning I found it sitting in the middle of our counter, plain as day. I can only imagine that I set something on it when I got the food out for dinner and after all the looking for it, we were exhausted and didn't see it when we put it all away.

I told Brady the whole story. A few minutes later when he was taking a kitty-face balloon to a friend who had left it at the Invention Party, he stopped in mid-walk, put his little hands together and said, "God, please help the balloon not to pop."

He watches and listens and learns. That is the greatest responsibility I will ever have. 

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