The other day my family spent a wonderful night at the park flying kites. Nothing fancy, just your run of the mill plastic triangle kites. The kids had a blast! They knew the "proper" way to fly the kite was to get it up in the air then lie down on their bellies and watch them soar through the sky.
As I was watching them, I was reminded of a story I once heard, long ago, about a boy who flew a kite with his father. The story went something like this:
"The boy was very young. It was his first experience with kite flying. His father helped him, and after several attempts the kite was in the air. The boy ran and let out more string, and soon the kite was flying high. The little boy was so excited; the kite was beautiful. Eventually there was no more string left to allow the kite to go higher. The boy said to his father, “Daddy, let’s cut the string and let the kite go; I want to see it go higher and higher.”
His father said, “Son, the kite won’t go higher if we cut the string.”
“Yes, it will,” responded the little boy. “The string is holding the kite down; I can feel it.” The father handed a pocketknife to his son. The boy cut the string. In a matter of seconds the kite was out of control. It darted here and there and finally landed in a broken heap. That was difficult for the boy to understand. He felt certain the string was holding the kite down."
WOW! What a great story! Short and simple, yet so profound! How many times have you thought, or your children thought, that the rules we live by each and every day are "holding us down" and that if we just "cut the string" we will be able to fly?
I know for me that when I have followed the "rules" I have been spared heartache time and time again. I haven't allowed my body to become addicted to "outside influences" that have the potential to shorten my lifespan. I have also found that when I have followed the rules I haven't felt trapped or stunted; I have been able to fly to greater potential. I know that I am not fully there yet, but if I hold on tight to that string, I will fly to higher and higher heights.
We, as mammas, teach our children from the time they are born to the time they flee the home how to be respectable human begins that will eventually contribute good to society. We sometimes think when that child rebels we did something wrong or that we didn’t do enough. We most often forget that our beautiful child has a wonderful brain of their own and, like us, they were given the same agency we were given when sent to earth. The only way to develop that trait is through experiences and choices - both good and bad.
As a mamma you will no doubt hear the familiar phrases: "you just don't understand!" or "you're just saying that so I can't have any fun!" or "why do we have stupid rules anyway?" These are all great questions that a "normal" child wanting to develop their independence will at some point in time ask you. Your job as a great mamma is to be prepared to answer these questions, I hope that you can answer with the same amount of love that a loving Heavenly Father gives us.
When He gave us commandments to follow, He knew we would ask these questions and He also knew that we would "test the limits" of the 'rules'. He doesn’t come down hard on us for the mistakes we make, He instead pleads with us to recognize what we have done wrong, repent of the wrong choices we do make, and once again look to Him to lead and guide us back home to Him. Not always an easy task if you ask me!
When you have an over-passionate teen who wants desperately to spread their wings and fly to higher and higher heights, they start to feel as if the 'rules' are holding them back, and they will start to rebel. This will lead to many a drawn-out fight, or at least heated arguments on why these sorts of behaviors or choices are unacceptable. You as a mamma will feel that you have "lost" your little child forever and that you have done everything possible in your being to help this child see that you really do love them with all your heart and that you would walk through fire to save them - from anything! When they rebel, your heart breaks into a thousand tiny little pieces that you fear will never be repaired again. I'm here to tell you there is HOPE!
A few years back, I was struggling with one on my children and I had had ENOUGH! I was at my wits end, and I just didn't know what to do anymore. I was by myself most of the time cuz my hubby's schedule was kinda 'off' so I really didn't have a "daddy figure" in my home all the time. One night I left the house, just so I could cool off and not say or do anything to my child that I would later regret. (I have to say, my child was perfectly safe. I also returned within 10 minutes of leaving.) I had gone to a friend's home who helped me to calm down and helped me realize that this type of behavior is "normal" for children to exhibit. She also told me that things would work out in the end.
My poor wounded heart was breaking - but I dried my tears and went home to my child. I did love that child with all my heart then - and I still do to this very day - even more! I was determined to seek for the help and guidance from Heavenly Father. That guidance came a couple weeks later while we were reading our nightly scriptures. The answer was this:
Jacob 5:47-5047 But what could I have done more in my vineyard? Have I slackened mine hand, that I have not nourished it? Nay, I have nourished it, and I have digged about it, and I have pruned it, and I have dunged it; and I have stretched forth mine hand almost all the day long, and the end draweth nigh. And it grieveth me that I should hew down all the trees of my vineyard, and cast them into the fire that they should be burned. Who is it that has corrupted my vineyard?48 And it came to pass that the servant said unto his master: Is it not the loftiness of thy vineyard—have not the branches thereof overcome the roots which are good? And because the branches have overcome the roots thereof, behold they grew faster than the strength of the roots, taking strength unto themselves. Behold, I say, is not this the cause that the trees of thy vineyard have become corrupted?49 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard said unto the servant: Let us go to and hew down the trees of the vineyard and cast them into the fire, that they shall not cumber the ground of my vineyard, for I have done all. What could I have done more for my vineyard?50 But, behold, the servant said unto the Lord of the vineyard: Spare it a little longer.
How many times as a parent do we sit and wonder what we could have done more to teach our children to have the courage to make good choices and become who Heavenly Father knows they can be? We spend our days and nights teaching them right from wrong. Praying for them to find the right path for themselves, just to have them choose a different path. This leads us to doubt ourselves as a mamma and ask am I enough? How many times have we sat down and said "I'm a failure! I just can't teach them anything! They just won't listen to me! I can't do it anymore!" These are very real questions that I have asked many a time.
I have also received many answers to these questions. Mainly through the spirit of our Heavenly Father that whispers, "Spare them a little longer."
This statement "spare them a little longer" gives me hope every day of my life. It also reminds me these precious children are not really mine. They are "on-loan" from Heavenly Father. They were sent here to grow and develop, just like I did. I made some pretty stupid mistakes in my long life, and they too are gonna make the same stupid mistakes. They are their own person, having their own life experience. You are NOT a failure because of the choices your child chooses to make!
I hold onto hope that one day my children will be the persons I know they can be. If you are a mamma that is losing a grip on hope for your children, tie a knot at the end of your rope and hold on, have a little more love and patience for your child. There is a plan for the hardest of children out there. Heavenly Father is in control of EVERYTHING and He will give you the HOPE you so desperately need. He loves you just as much as He loves your child. After all, you are both His. Trust in Heavenly Father and His plan for you and your children.