Friday, January 11, 2019

Peace, But Later

Today was a tough one. One of my kids - I won't say which one - did her level best to check the boundaries of her life. The boundaries are still firm. The day ended with heartfelt apologies to everyone whose efforts at just living normally she'd disrupted, including one of the cats. This is how I know that the apologies are sincere; she will seek out everyone she knows she has wronged and apologize for what she did to them specifically. And she will whisper it, because apologies can feel a little embarrassing. I am doing my best to make sure she knows that we all make mistakes like this. We hurt each other sometimes. We should try not to, but when we fail, the important part is that we make it right.

I think it is pretty normal for kids to check the boundaries, but it doesn't make it pleasant for anyone when they do. Some kids just do gentle checks, and if you have one of those kids, please say a prayer of gratitude tonight for your good fortune. Other kids really want to test the outer limits of edge of reason, and possibly their parents' sanity. (Ahem.) I happen to have two children whose strength of will is unmatched by 90% of the population, and while I see this overall as a good thing, what is true of most strengths is true in this case. This strength can cause a whole lot of trouble when used unwisely.

I see it as my job as a parent to help my children harness their strengths for good. With two extra strong girls in my care, during the majority of my waking hours (thanks, homeschooling), this job can sometimes be staggeringly difficult. But I would rather they do these hard, persistent checks of boundaries with me and find those boundaries firm than to find the boundaries lacking and then be surprised at the boundaries that exist in life outside our family and home. And I would rather accept that my days will occasionally be hard than to lose the benefits of homeschooling.

So today was hard. But not every day is, and I know that. I have been doing this for long enough that I know that peaceful days will come. The issue that set everything off today had to do with a normal part of education work, and so we will have to wait and see if everything has been put right on Monday. I hope that is the case. I will be okay if it is not, and so will my children. Because we always work through these rough patches, and then? There is peace.

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