Saturday, October 15, 2016

It's Really Simple

Part III:
It’s Really Simple

In Part I:  It’s Okay To Be a Woman; my hope is I conveyed the importance of embracing the woman God created you to be.  There was a cool quote that came across my FaceBook feed, “Our generation is becoming so busy trying to prove that women can do what mend can do, that women are loosing their uniqueness.  Women weren’t created to do everything a man can do.  Women were created to do everything a man can’t do.”, no idea who said it, but I still think it qualifies as a quote?  It really spoke to me because it says so much more than what you read at face value.

Genesis 1:26  So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

 You catch that last part there?  “Male and female”, we were both created in God’s image.  Somewhere along the line women drank the Kool-Aid that they were “less than” a man.  I bet there are some women that will immediately say “Well that’s because men believe that and treat us like we are!!”  If some said you were purple, would you just start thinking you were purple?  Just because someone says something, doesn’t make it true.  That is why it is so important we women start loving ourselves based on what we know about who we are!!  Stop competing with men!  Heck, stop competing with other women!!  The only person you should compete with, and try to be better than, was the woman you were yesterday!

The next step, Part II:  Wives, Submit to God; I put a different spin on this whole submitting thing.  If we omit the God part, all we see is “submit to your husband” and that just rubs a lot of us the wrong way (me included).  I have to admit, as I was writing Part II, I had a light bulb moment.  “Ohhhhhh, submit to God??  Heck, I can do that!!”  Matter of fact, I want to do that!  My entire life has proven that when I’m obedient to God, and follow the Word, life is just…simple.

As I started trying to get my head around the concept of submitting, my thoughts shifted to my boys.  I’ve always said, and stand by it to this day; having children made me a better person.  You don’t even have to have children to understand the parallel of submission and children.

Have you ever been in line, on an airplane, at a family function, sitting in the park, having dinner in a restaurant, and a child starts to interact with you?  Surely you’ve experiences at least one of these things:

1.    Child pops their head up over the seat in front of you, then immediately hides back behind the seat.  Slowly, they pop their head up again.  This time, you say “Boo”, child smiles, you smile, and child hides again.  You do this twenty more times.
2.   Child brings you a toy phone and hands it to you.  You take said phone and say hello.  This turns into a five-minute phone conversation with air.
3.   Child (toddlers in particular) is accompanying you on daily errands.  It’s nap time, but you have really need to pick up a toy/gift for your older child’s friend’s birthday party tomorrow!!  The now cranky, it’s nap time, child starts getting restless so you grab a book/stuffed animal/plastic toy something (hopefully that doesn’t make noise) and had it to said child.  Now, if you’re me, it’s a cheap something, because…you know the probability of having to buy this cheap something when it’s time to leave is pretty high.  If it was my first born, cheap item goes back at check out, no big.  However, second and third born?  Yeah, cheap item goes home with us.

Guess what just happened?  Yep, that’s right, you submitted to this child.

Another insight I’ve gleaned from being a mother, especially of boys, is what lights them up. Even more revealing was having a daughter in the house for a year and seeing what lit her up.  It’s an innate ability for me to love my children and want meet their every need.  It wasn’t until I had a daughter that I became aware of the very subtle differences between sons and daughters.

My house went from all boys, to three boys and one teenage daughter overnight.  It was cool that she was a teenager, because she could articulate her needs, most of the time.  What I found was when she came to me; she wanted hugs, words of validation about her.  When the boys came to me, they might have wanted a hug, but more importantly, they wanted me to be proud of what they did.  You see the difference?

This difference was huge, and crystal clear! 

Meeting the needs of my daughter was a no brainer, just gotta love her!  Even better, she was a teenager.  She could just walk up and say “I need a hug” (I need to feel close to you, I need you to love on me) and BAM, I could do that!!  I could love on her all day, and she made it really easy too!  But there wasn’t much, that I found, that couldn’t be resolved with a hug.  I really can’t recall a time when I could see she was in needing some love, and she brought me a picture she drew (because she’s an amazing artist!!) to validate herself.  She just brought herself and without words said “I need you to just love me for who I am”.

Now, the boys are totally different.  Add that there are three of them, that’s three differents I had to figure out how to validate.  My oldest will ask for nothing.  My middle son pretty much paints me a picture.  I’ll never forget the day I got on him for not doing one chore, and he got really upset, “I forgot this one thing and you get mad.  It’s like you don’t see all the other things I do!”  His words crushed my heart.  Felt like the worst mother on the planet at that moment.  I know, without a doubt, that boy knows I love him.  But what he needed from me was to see his work, and to appreciate that work.  My youngest son’s top favorite day is Tuesday.  Why?  Because Tuesday is when he brings home his Tuesday Folder!  In that folder is all his work from the previous week.  He absolutely beams as I got through every paper and gush over how well he did.  Just this week, one project he’d done did not have an obvious grade on it, so I put it in the pile, sans gushing, and moved to the next paper.  He quietly reached over and took the paper, and as I continued to gush over all the 100s, I noticed he was holding this paper, upside down, where the 100 had been put on the back of the page.  He needed me to validate that grade, even though I was validating all the others, it was important (to him specifically) I see all of them.

Meeting the needs of my sons took a little more thought, but I was totally up for the challenge, what mother wouldn’t be?  When I started paying attention, I could see the difference in how they responded to my love, verses my approval.  Don’t get me wrong, they still need my love, but boy howdy do their faces light up when they get my approval!

I’ve even taken it a step further, because like I said my children make me a better person, by seeking the good in what they do rather than point out the bad.  This revelation, in and of itself is worthy of a totally different discussion!  But to keep on track, I found the key to motivating them to do more of what I want was validating the good I saw in them.

Ok, game time!!  Every played “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”?  Well, this is kind of like that, except it’s with a word, and I did it in less than six degrees.  Validating the good I see in the boys shows them I approve of who they are, and I admire them for their efforts.  Want to know what another word for admire is?  Respect.  Ergo, to validate ultimately shows respect.  And that, respect, motivated my boys more than my love.

Let’s pull this all together now!!  What are men?  Well, they are grown boys.  So…what do you think motivates men?  Ding!  Ding!  Absolutely right, respect!  Yes, love is good and needed, but respect is what motivates them!  Want to know what it motivates them to do?  Love you.

Simple, right??  We see that mothers willingly show respect for their sons (well, once they figure out it motivates them), and that this is what makes sons thrive!!  So why why why why do we balk at the thought of respecting our husbands??  “Because he doesn’t deserve it!!”  Really?  Ever?? 

Let me leave you with some thoughts:

·      Do you expect your husband to love you?  Or, is it ok that he just love you when you are lovable?
·      Can you admit that you aren’t always lovable?
·      Would you feel amazing if your husband showed he loved you every single day?
·      Can you concede that it would be pretty gosh darn simple to admire (respect) a son if that’s what you knew he needed?  Even on the days he got on your last nerve?
·      Is it possible for you to put aside you own needs (for a moment), and see that little boy in the man you married that needs you to admire him?  To tap into that intuitive mothering instinct and pour it out on him?
·      Which is more important to you?  Being happy?  Or being right?  Does your need to be right stem from your own insecurities and/or baggage from the past?

Some of these questions may be pretty easy to answer, others less so.  But I encourage you to spend some time pondering, and praying, over them.  Finding the answers could be imperative to taking the next step towards a happy marriage.