Wednesday, June 1, 2011

refining fire

i was reading this article that our good friend todd posted on his FB account (FB means facebook mother ;)).

recently, i was talking with my dad about a profound parenting moment he had years ago. he was giving a talk in a religious setting about parenting. he was comparing the opportunity to parent to the experience of a sculptor. molding, shaping, cutting that clay into exactly what you want it to be.

he was feeling pretty good about his talk. afterwards, a good friend, who also happened to be very wise professionally about family dynamics, told him that although his talk had a good concept, it was wrong. kids are more like folded paper. with every part of growth a new crease unfolds. as a parent you are the one to open each fold on their sheet of paper. sometimes the way we parent leaves some papers closed, unable to see what's inside.

this spoke such truth to me. grayce and easton are so similar in their responses to our correction, praise, love. i figured that it was our parenting accolade that our kids were obedient, generally well behaved, sweet, did tricks on cue and on and on. then, well, if you've ever read one post on here you know that child number three turned my entire world upside down. it still has me shocked. she is entirely, completely something i never knew could come from our combined DNA. i had no idea personality traits like that could be floating around the family. this analogy of the folded paper has helped me see the truth of it.

i believe our spirits have lived far longer than these physical bodies. we were intelligences long before the marriage of our spirits and physical bodies. i think that might somehow explain why ella naturally likes using bigger, more correct phrases than my other kids. she thinks so much differently. it's a television to her, and calling the "children" in suites her more than calling "kids" in for dinner. like when she was two and asked me to play princesses with her. she handed me prince charming and asked me to play kingdom. what?!

you be king dumb. oh my. yep, paper i tell you.

in general conference a few months ago, my inbox for texting was hot when this talk was being given. at first i balked at his chipper, life's good with a child that has "unique characteristics" attitude. i had to let it sink into daily thought. guess what? he's right. surely, these "special kids" ARE making us more godlike. they are the refining fire of my soul. they make the rough edges smooth with humility.

so, i will let ella give the parting thought here:

peace momma, peace.


Deanna said...

Thanks for sharing that thought, Heidi. I'll have to remember that. You know that my #2 = your #3. And I have to tell you that it has occasionally given me comfort to know that I have ONE friend who can relate to my specific challenges. Since he defies all logic, all consistency, all direction and guidance, and every single thing that we try in any way - I constantly find myself in that state of shock you were talking about. We can reach the other two and our parenting actually seems to "work", so to speak, with them. But at 6+ years in, I'm still completely clueless to anything effective or helpful in dealing with #2 and that often leaves me feeling so hopeless I can hardly stand it. Refining fire, indeed. I still feel quite sharp and unrefined, so we obviously have a LONG way to go. Hopefully I can figure out some good ways of unfolding that paper . . .

kate said...

i loved that talk as well, because my #2 has been putting me through the ringer all her life. at times i think i do feel the growth she's "helping" me to go through and i just pray and pray that somehow all our work and worry and prayers will help her turn out all right. :) thanks for sharing your insights! you are a wonderful mom!

Todd said...

Heidi - great post. I feel refined enough now - make it stop!!

Seriously, I think that in many ways we are given these children on purpose as they are the ones that bring us closest to Heavenly Father. Think of the frustration he feels seeing the majority of his children running around completely disregarding his wishes. It's good to know someone else deals with what we deal with on a daily basis.

winandem said...

Once again, I feel every word that you wrote with my no.3 who elbowed her larger head twin out of the way to become no.2 baby! My biggest fear is that if you don't unfold her character just so she will turn out like lady Gaga... who says "she was born that way"! I hope that belle and Ella have a ton of fun in pre-school together!