How to Truly Know Your Child
It sounds hard to believe, but a mom can live with her child pretty much 24/7, and still not really “get” that child. So what does a mom need to do to really know her child? Ponder. A mom who ponders fits together the bits of news and clues about her child like puzzle pieces, so she can assemble a clear picture of what is going on in her child’s life. When we don’t take time to ponder, we miss the sometimes subtle clues to what our children are dealing with and feeling. So refuse to let anything prevent you from pondering, especially the 9 things below.
9 Things That Get in the Way of Pondering Our Child
By: Susan Merrill
It seems that no one today has time to ponder. We pack more into a day than ever before in history. But the reality is that we do still have time. Whenever I pitch the complaint to my husband that I just don’t have the time to do something, he swats it right back with, “Everyone has time, and so do you. You are just not making this a priority for your time.” Ouch. The point is, we do have time to ponder; we just use that time for other things. Pondering takes time, sometimes lots of it. It also takes avoiding these 9 things that get in the way of pondering, and finding the 2 Keys to Pondering.
1. The phone. I chat with friends endlessly, especially in the car, when I could just ponder each of my children while I drive.
2. The computer. I shop online because I get way too many e-mails about great sales, research online because Google has the answer to all my questions. (Of course, Google was important when I was researching my daughter’s symptoms, but it is a distraction if I am Googling for hours without a commendable reason.)
3. Social media. I use Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest because it is so fun to celebrate and comment on my friends’ pictures and posts.
4. Volunteer over commitment. I want to “be there,” involved with every child and all their activities. But multiple children mean multiple opportunities to volunteer and it’s so hard to say no.
5. Competitive leisure sports. Participating in leagues that are ambitious can create pressure to spend more than the average amount of time playing.
6. Working out. Fitness demands that we exercise for hours each week but not hours each day. Hours spent exercising every day may be an indicator that we have become slaves to vanity.
7. Work. The bills must be paid, but sometimes we work more than we need to because we like it, it builds our sense of accomplishment, or we covet stuff and desire money to spend.
8. Shopping. We all want to look as best we can, but looking fashionable takes time and effort whether you are on a budget or not.
9. Socializing. Parties, clubs, Bunko, and bridge. Birthday lunches, work dinners, old friends and new. The socialite has a lot to keep up with and do.
Pondering takes selflessness, and selflessness takes self control. Those are the two keys to pondering that will help you overcome the 9 things that get in the way of pondering.
It takes self-control to put down a good book when a child comes in bored and wants to play a game. It takes self control to look up from Pinterest when your son walks in the door from school, or to get off the phone when your daughter needs help with homework. And it takes self-control to give up a party to help one of your kids with a school project or to cancel a tennis match to comfort a daughter who didn’t get asked to the prom.
The great benefit of learning to exercise self-control is this: if you learn self-control, you will be better able to model it to your child. Self-control has another name: deferred gratification.
It takes self-control to be selfless. The job of motherhood is a selfless one, to be sure. Moms do not get days off unless they have a substitute, and substitutes are hard to come by and costly. Pondering takes selflessness. Selflessness is sacrificing what I want to do so I can do something for others. It means putting my children first. I can feel the quills spiking in some of you as I write this. Please understand: I know how hard you work as a mom, and I am so thankful that you do. I have five children, and there have been so many times that I only got about five or six hours of sleep a night for months on end—I thought I would never catch a break. But looking back, there are so many compulsive and selfish things that distracted me and ate up a lot of time that I could have put to better use.
In the moment we want to indulge ourselves and use our spare time selfishly, but many moments later when our children are grown we will wish we had not.
Ponder about your child every moment you get,
until your child is a child no more.