Thursday, July 17, 2008

Finding the 'Thing'

Part of parenting is helping our kids become whoever it is that God has designed them to be. Unique. As much as I enjoy the differences of all five of my kids, I wish that they were more the same. That way the same principals would apply in the same way. Each of my children are so different (just like yours) and helping them find their strengths, talents, and gifts can be exciting and tiring. The older they get those traits naturally start to take shape.

It has been fairly easy to watch the two oldest kids (14 &11) fall into their strengths and gifts but our middle child, Eden (10), has been a bit more difficult to figure out. "Poor me" is her battle cry. Always the underdog. The victim. I know that those things come easily to the middle child, at least that is what Kevin Lehman and birth order will say. But oh my goodness.

This Summer in an attempt to find "her thing" she joined the city swim team. They meet Mon-Fri 8-9am. While the exercise has been good, I am seeing that team sports is really not her passion. She is much more interested in chatting with her new BFF Raven. They are always the last two in the pool, and when Raven is absent swimming is no fun for Eden. This morning at 7:30 I was trying to wake her up and her reply was "Please don't make me go, I am so tired." So I let her sleep wondering if that was right. After all she is a team member. She has made a commitment. She has a meet on Saturday. But then again, she is 10 years old.

I think this swim team experience is good for both Eden and I. It again confirms that a child has to LOVE a sport to justify this much commitment at this age. Eden loves to swim...just not like this. She just wants to play in the pool. Not work on her butterfly stroke. As much as I dislike the commitment of football in the fall our son is passionate about it. So we let him play and endure all the hours of practice and playing while cheering him on.

Back to Eden. She has recently decided that she doesn't want to go to college. Instead she wants to work in a pet store. Oh yes, she loves animals. Have I ever mentioned that I don't care for creatures in my home? She has decided that she would also like a guinea pig. My thoughts are this: Smelly. Dirty. Rodent. Cost me money. Nagging about clean up. Hairy. Dirty. Smelly. Did I mention stinky? But in yet another attempt to find Eden's passion we are in discussions and fund raising for the guinea pig. She had a lemonade stand this week which earned $9. I am of the thinking of 'prove to me how much you want this'.

Am I the only one that thought parenting was only about raising children and helping them to become whatever it was they were created to do? Because parenting has taught me also so much about myself and also God's role with us. Especially my impatience. I am sure He is smiling watching us try to figure these kids out.


Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

Oh Eden...this made me smile becuase I too, was the girl going out for sport merely to socialize :) It drove my coaches insane :)

Nothing, NOTHING has tried my patience like parenting :) It's so much more intense than I could have ever dreamed...and so much more worth it too :)

You're doing a great job letting her explore!

Katherine@Raising Five said...

You describe my middle child - also 10. She walked straight out of the Birth Order Book. It sounds like yours has more of an idea of what she wants to do with her life - what a challenge to guide her while also letting her follow her dreams!


Beth said...

Now I know why I have such a soft spot for Eden... we are kindered spirits seperated by 30 years. I too was that middle child (who also had a difficult time finding her passion) and I certainly love the critters. By the way, I can save her a lot of money if she would like a black four legged critter of the canine type :) He looks a little like an oversized, shaved guinea pig.

Jamie @ Purposeful Pursuit said...

$9 is a pretty impressive lemonade stand.
I know your feeling about not wanting critters in the home. It is hard when your kids want that, we have done rabbits (smelly), and I was just at a 4H meeting for horses tonight (expensive), and we have 2 kids that are actively trying to convince us to get a dog.
Parenting can be such a challenge at times. It hasn't been easy finding the "thing" for all of our kiddos either. It is an issue I am currently dealing with.
Your a great mom with great kids! I'll be praying for you on this parenting journey.

Jeanine said...

Yes...parenting certainly is a challenge. Our son (10) is our emotional one and our daughter (4) is the tough one. Not physically tough but emotionally tough. The thing is, if each of our kids were all the same, how boring would that be? Parenting for God is a challenge, too. Just think of how different and unique each of us are and how he cannot parent each of us the same way.

Our little Faith Marie already knows at four years old that she wants to be an animal doctor. She, like Eden, LOVES all animals. I was the same way. I just couldn't figure out why...I mean, seriously, parents wouldn't let me have a horse on the one and a half acres we lived on! Currently, we have two dogs and although it's a vacuuming nightmare, they have a special place in our hearts and our family. They are each unique in their own ways, too. We have two birds, as well. The differences in our kids, our pets...each of us...adds variety and spice to our lives. You're doing a great job helping Eden find "her thing." Eventually she'll find it and she'll have you to thank...for your patience, your care and mostly loving her for God created her to be.