It was a long day. I had a lot of errands and meetings with others. I decided to squeeze in Target shopping to browse their toy clearance. (A frugal tip: hit the after-holiday clearance to stock your gift closet for the next year). We went to two stores. At each store, Zon begged and pleaded to buy a particular doll. She carefully chose a pink one at the first store, then a multi-colored one (identical set, different color) at the second store. Each time I ultimately decided to buy the sets, but each time I felt a pang of worry in my heart and heard those all too common societal warnings in my head:
"You're spoiling her."
"You have to teach her that no means no."
"She's going to be a greedy, spoiled brat."
"She can't have everything in life. Best teach her sooner than later."
Even though every day I commit to unconditional parenting (also known as grace-based, Christ-based, positive, attached or peaceful parenting) I still heard those societal condemnations pinging around in my head. I did my best to ignore them, but I was brought to tears when we got home from our shopping.
My 2-year-old daughter had carefully picked out a doll for her little brother.
Do you see your child in a positive light or do you automatically assume the worst? I was given a precious reminder today that our children can be loving, generous people because they are loving, generous people not because we force them into being loving or generous. I was reminded that I can’t take too much credit for the inner virtue and qualities of my children. I can be there to encourage, to model and to guide, but they are people with their own intentions.
© Guggie Daly
When You Thought I Wasn't Looking
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you hang up my first painting on the refrigerator, and I wanted to paint another one.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you feed a stray cat, and I thought it was good to be kind to animals.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you make my favorite cake for me, and I knew that little things are special things.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I heard you say a prayer, and I believed there is a God I could always talk to.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I felt you kiss me goodnight, and I felt loved.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw that you cared, and I wanted to be everything that I could be.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I LOOKED... and wanted to say thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn't looking.