Wednesday, March 3, 2010
So, I'm sitting here, listening to Abi explain my iPhone functions to two teenagers. (Hey, better my iPhone than my bodily functions, which she has also explained to teenagers in the past.) Pregnancy somehow inadvertantly comes up in the conversation, and I hear one of the girls joke that if she got pregnant, she'd "get rid of it." I then hear Abi say to one of them, "If you had a baby and if you'd let me have it, I'd take care of it. You can NOT kill babies. Because killing babies will get you under arrest."
She is SO my child.
You gotta love a six year old that will stand up to teenagers.
One of the ten million things I adore about my Abi is just that. Her ability and desire to stand up for what she believes in. She HATES when someone makes fun of someone else. She NEEDS to make sure all animals with fur are well fed, loved, and played with. She LOVES Jesus, and when she meets someone who doesn't, she asks them why.
Let me get to the point.
Part of Abi's ability to speak her mind is just found in her genetics. She comes from two very animated, opinionated, and stubborn gene pools. But even that aside, we strive on a daily basis to let her know that her voice is important and her convictions are legitimate. We praise her for standing out in the crowd and encourage her to think outside the status quo.
Of course, along with that line of thought comes challenging authority. I actually love it. Yep, you read that right. I love it when she challenges me. Let me explain why before you think my cheese has slid off my cracker.
I love it that she is confident enough in her opinion to voice it.
I love it that she has the backbone and fortitude to dig her heels in.
But mainly, I love it that she is secure enough in our love for her to know we're okay with her if she disagrees.
But let me tell you, we love her enough to be the final say.
Parenting old school doesn't mean we shut down our kids' opinions. However, it does mean that all that ridiculous mumbo jumbo of talking an issue into the ground is redundant. The bottom line is, if we love our kids and establish ourselves as loving authorities in their lives, respect and allegiance will naturally be there. If we say what we mean and mean what we say, they see integrity in action. No child respects a parent they can manipulate! So when they dig their heels in, they can indeed know that we want their voice to be heard, but they will also keep an awareness that WE are the parents. WE make the final decision. And our job is to be their parents... not their friends.
I just heard Abi tell one of the teenagers that they just cheated at some game they're playing.
I just smiled again.