We bought a new table. This may not seem like a monumental occurrence, but when you get married at 19, have zero in the bank account for more years than you can count do to school and part time jobs and small towns, and livin’ on love takes on a whole new meaning. Then the kiddos come and it’s time for new shoes and school supplies and the grocery bill just keeps climb, climb, climbing. Soon you realize that the hand-me-down table isn’t big enough and the one at the yard sale will do.
Then you outgrow that and your parents offer their old table which gets bigger and you take it with thanks and feel a bit more like and adult with furniture that (mostly) matches. But it’s not really YOURS. Because it’s always been some one else’s. Some one’s first. Some one’s own style bought for their own dining room. And seconds aren’t bad. Shabby chic and old to new is often some of the best.
It’s where we gather and join our hands and bow our heads to give thanks. It’s where the hubbs and I pass a whole conversation over the tops of heads with a single look. It’s where the homework spreads out, the paint gets spilled and the Christmas presents are made.
It is more than a piece of furniture.
Friends share coffee here, as was done this morning when the girls came over for Tuesday coffee. We talked about our jobs, our families, our parenting. And the state of parenting was one that came up a lot this morning. I think we’re all worried.
Our society has changed. Our culture has changed. Kids are different. Parenting is different. The common thread was this: we’re often afraid to take our kids someplace. It seems that no matter what we do, rules are overrun, attitude abounds and general misbehaving and defiance is running rampant. I understand that some of it is general kid stuff, but it goes beyond that.
Extra chores? Tried them.
Loss of toys and privileges? Yep.
Not getting to join in on the fun stuff? Oh yeah.
But still. My kids treat me in ways I would never think of treating my parents. Am I raising my kids differently? I don’t think so. But our world has changed too. Kids all around are given freedoms that seem too much. And the way parents are represented on TV is far from in a good light. Quite the opposite. I’m pretty sure Disney’s one goal is to make any authority figure on their television shows look as idiotic as possible. So they’re not allowed to watch.
|photo from crosswalk.com|
But it doesn’t help. And I’m at a loss. There are things in my kids’ lives that I can’t change. Behaviors that were laid in place before I ever even met them. But at the same time, the rules haven’t changed and you would think that over time things would be better. Yet I feel like we’re always back at the drawing board, trying something new.
I have to admit, it was reassuring sitting ’round this table knowing I’m not alone. But where do we go from here? What can we do as parents to just bring a general peace to our homes? Is it all genetic? I think some of it is. I look at other families and I don’t see the chaos of my own. But it’s not all in the DNA. It can’t be.
I’ve read the books on parenting challenging children. I’ve read the books on adoption and attachment. I’ve prayed. I’ve talked to counselors. We’ve done family devotionals. We’ve made changes in our parenting and discipline to try and meet the various needs. And still no change.
So again, where do we go from here? How do we teach gratitude and general kindness when the groundwork may not have been laid to start with? How can we build a solid structure on a foundation made of sand? We are consistent. The rules are the same. The love is the same. And I’m at a loss.
So we gather ’round the table. We offer support and different ideas. And we reach out, like I’m doing here. What do we do as a society?