I do a lot of things wrong as a parent. Some days, I am pretty sure I do everything wrong. Sporadically though, I do a few things that turn out okay.
What constantly amazes me is how my best laid plans fall all the way apart. I try so hard to do the proper thing to get the proper result, and it just doesn’t work. My pride takes a beating.
Conversely, I do something tragically wrong, and God completely redeems the situation. Everything turns out sunshine and roses.
I have a feeling this is by design.
I try to remind myself of this every time I start to worry about disciplining my preschoolers the right way, or I try to pick the perfect homeschool curriculum, or my children (or I myself) embarrass me publically.
I also remind myself of this when I get advice from other moms. Some advice might seem spectacular, but when I attempt to follow it, I crash and burn. Other advice might seem crazy, but ends up being awesome. That’s my favorite kind of advice.
In fact recently, I received some advice that I was sure I would never ever endeavor. A dear family friend who has raised 4 amazing kids (all adults now) shared some wisdom with me when I asked her how to handle a particular discipline issue. I confessed to her that my 3 year old and 5 year old were constantly hitting and pushing each other and generally making each other miserable. She, in a very sincere and serious voice, advised me that I should teach them the “golden rule:” When one child hits the other, I should supervise while having the other child hit the first offender back.
What??!! That’s just crazy! I’m sorry, but that just sounded demented to me.
Well, a few days later, I was at my wits end, so I gave it a whirl. And guess what? It wasn’t nearly the disaster I thought it would be. I’ve actually continued with it for a few weeks now, and it’s working fairly well. We’re having far fewer physical encounters. Most shockingly, the kids really do not often take justice into their own hands. They usually come to me and ask if they should hit (or push or poke) the offender back. Seriously! And they don’t seem to enjoy giving the payback–well, at least not much.
I am dumbfounded!
Now keep in mind, you might undertake this same advice with no success. But then again, you never know.
Ergo, in response to this totally unexpected triumph, I am going to start an advice column. I’m calling it “Dear Pooky: Unorthodox Parenting Advice from a Mother of 5.” I will dedicate the occasional blog post to sharing some pretty wacky advice—all derived from nutty things I’ve done as a parent that have actually turned out pretty well.
Be on the lookout for the first “Dear Pooky” post. It’s coming soon.
Prepare to be aghast. Prepare to be dismayed. Prepare to maybe even be amazed. Because sometimes crazy advice is the best advice.