Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Learning from Emma

Emmaleigh is contemplative, introspective, and analytical. These personality traits are turning into discernment as she matures. She was like this from birth. She was born not crying and looked into my eyes, all ready to figure out the world. We joked when she was tiny that we would someday hire her out to the FBI or CIA for prisoner interrogation because her analytical stare could probably break a hardened criminal.

Now she is 4 and a half and still figuring out the world. Thankfully she doesn't stare at strangers and make them want to cry anymore. She's sweet and kind and compassion is showing its beauty in Emma more each day.

Emma excitedly plays with her baby doll and mothers her. It occurred to me that my 4 year old little girl shows a revealing glimpse of what her mother's parenting looks like. A frightening thought that I have a little character mirror following me around all day.

Some things I am obviously doing right. Emma disciplines her baby very calmly and by the Book.  She understands what I often tell her: God is in charge of Mommy and Mommy is in charge of Emma. When Emma obeys Mommy, she is learning how to obey God. Emma's baby gets the same lecture, discipline and then a hug, followed by "I love you. You will obey next time?" It makes me so happy to hear her make the connection between love and discipline.

Emma's parenting also reveals what I have to work on. I hear her say to her baby, "You are annoying me!" or "I am too busy," or a she gives a great, big, exasperated sigh when her baby cries.... again. And her baby's issues are just imaginary! Am I really so irritable?

It's no longer easy to convince myself that my reactions, good or bad, are not influencing my children. No one is perfect obviously, but many of the things I see mirrored need to be addressed. Each new day holds a promise for change and growth and a mother gets to direct the path. What an amazing responsibility and an amazing joy. Okay, to be honest, it is also a great annoyance and a bit exasperating, but my challenge none the less.

Happy parenting!

Pictures from the horse ranch where my cousin Lisa works.


Kellie said...

It's definitely revealing to listen in as our children "parent" their babies and see ourselves reflected in that interaction. Sounds like Emma is making great connections between love and discipline though!

Love the first picture of her, she's such a pretty girl!

Lesley Miller said...

What beautiful pictures of Emma, and such lovely wisdom and honesty from you.

Sara said...

It is amazing how much children pick up on our behavior, attitudes and actions. I find it an inspiration to better myself more than anything I've faced before because I certainly don't want to pass on my bad habits to my daughter! I know it will be impossible to do that entirely, but it's definitely a goal worth working towards. It sounds like you are doing a fabulous job and imparting wonderful lessons to your daughters. Keep up the good work, Alysun!