Sunday, April 18, 2010

Grace and acceptance

Papa and Abigail in the blanket fort they made...I couldn't get a good picture because she was on the move in there! Lots of giggles. :)

I love to read. I especially love to read parenting books. I love to sift my way through figuring out what I believe lines up with the Bible, and our thoughts on parenting. I like new ideas, and a fresh perspective.
The two favorite books I have read so far have both talked about how parenting and discipline is to be aimed at changing a heart. Changing a child's behavior is on the outside, but dealing with the heart (selfishness, anger, etc.) is what is going to help a child have lifelong success. And we attempt to be heart oriented. I won't claim perfection by any means. However our goal in correcting our daughter is to both correct what was wrong through simple explanation, redirection, or spanking, and to teach what is right. If I only tell her what she is doing wrong it will be hard for her to replace that with a right behavior.
One of the other things that has stuck out in a lot of the books is the unconditional acceptance of quirky things that might be seen as "annoying" but aren't actually harmful. Things like making noises, taking shoes off on long car rides, being clumsy, etc. Abigail has one of these, although it does not bother me at all. She LOVES the way big stores echo. As soon as we walk in the door she begins yelling. It is not a fit type yell but just a "ahh" "daa" type thing. I often get stares. I refuse to "correct" her because she is doing nothing wrong. She likes the noise, is being obedient, and is enjoying herself. Have at it I say. But those looks from strangers can sometimes tempt me to shush her.
Right now I'm reading a book called "Grace Based Parenting" by Dr. Tim Kimmel. A friend let me borrow it. I love it already. The idea mentioned above was brought up in this book (which has to be about the fourth time I've read about it) and talked about how our children need our unconditional acceptance of these sort of things. This will help them to grow up feeling secure in our love.
It brought up a few thoughts and helped me to understand why these two things have been so heavy for me. First of all I know I mentioned it before, but at one point a doctor who I had been seeing found out about Abigail's NF and asked me, "Don't you wish it was like a puppy you could give back?" I let him know that I did not want to give her back. It didn't change anything about the way we felt about Abigail.
The second thing is the story of the little boy sent back to Russia. I have not watched or read much about it. It breaks my heart, and is more than I can handle. However it sort of helps counter the thoughts I'm trying to portray.
You see I love Abigail. I don't just love her because she's mine, I love her because she is a joy. She is silly, a little shy around new people, determined, and sometimes a bit ornery. She is caring, nurturing, and snugly. I love her for who she is. I don't love her when she obeys. I don't not love her when she disobeys. I just love her. That is what God does for us. That is what I am called to do as a mama.
I don't want to give her back. I don't want to change her yelling in the store. I don't want her to be more outgoing, or less silly. I want her to know she is loved exactly how she is, and for who she is. We will not be "giving her back" because she has a disorder. We will not be making statements about how we wonder why we ever adopted her if she rebels as a teenager.
We will only do our best to love her the way we are loved by our Heavenly Father. Completely, and gracefully.

Enjoying parenting,

1 comment:

  1. What a terrible question from your doctor!! We have a 9 years old boy with the same diagnosis as Abigail. Of course I was shocked when we got to know that he has nf1, and I don't want that for my child. But at the same time I think: If one of 3000 children have nf1, I am happy that I have got one of them! Like Abigail, he gives so much joy and love to us and other people he meets.

    Thank you for sharing om your blog! :)

    Ellen, Norway