Thursday, March 4, 2010

Parenting: An Antidote for Hypocrisy

I've been talking a lot about emotions lately and how I'm learning I cannot let them get the best of me. I'm always amused when I am learning something and then am faced with teaching my child at the same time. This time I'm talking about Anna.

Today is a great example. My mom was over to watch Ethan for awhile and I was supposed to be at Anna's school to help take part in a video shoot for a promotional video the school is doing. But before that could happen, my mom and I got in a knock-down, drag-out fight, one of the worst we've gotten in, ever. There's no need to go into why. And the good news is that we did make up later in the day. But earlier, as this was happening, I realized I had to get over to the school, even though we were in the middle of our argument. And I knew I had to clear up my tears and focus. So I left the house, drove down the street to the school, and parked, taking deep breaths, praying, commanding myself to stop thinking about it. There I was, needing to be in the school so they could film me in the role of smiling mommy leading my child to class, and I was fuming, stressed, and choking back tears.

Thank God, I did it. I managed. I got myself back on track and went in there so we could get started. The two videographers wanted to film Anna and I walking up the steps to the school and through the doors. I needed to give her a hug and wave goodbye. Then we needed to do it again, and again. Only thing is, Anna wasn't having any of this. Although I had warned her they'd need to shoot again and again, she hadn't realized the shooting would take her away from class, and ultimately lunch. She wanted to be back with the kids. She didn't get why we had to keep doing it. Next thing I knew, she was bawling.

Uh, this is not good, I was thinking. Here we were, helping to make the video about what a wonderful place Trinity Christian School is, and there was my five-year-old with tears rolling down her cheeks, acting as if I were dragging her to prison.

The camera guys discreetly stepped aside and let me talk to Anna. "You can do this," I said. "You have to get yourself under control."

"I can't!!" she shrieked.

"You can," I said softly. "Take a deep breath. Just focus. We'll be done soon. You can do it." I felt like smiling, knowing I was talking to myself, thinking, If only she knew...

Somehow, we made it through. And after crying in the car for awhile and thinking about how to get my emotions and words in check, I went back to my mom and worked it out.

This parenting thing really works a lot better when you've had some firsthand experience with the advice you're attempting to dole out. For me, it was rather fresh experience -- try about five minutes. Somehow, I always seem to learn the lesson just in time to be able to share it with my own kids.

No comments: