Tag Archives: hard work

My Kids are Computers

I pretty much have to congratulate myself on this one: when my kids were born, I checked off the box that said “Computer module.” I really didn’t quite understand what that would entail, but boy, did I make the right decision!

These days, behavior, morals, even chores—you know what? All of parenting is just not the hassle it’s made out to be! All I have to do is enter my input:

Environment.church {
behavior: reverent;
volume: 10%;
default-position: seated;
thoughts: Jesus;
}

And BAM! My kids are the most reverent at church! (It’s important to beat other people with your reverence, too.)

At home, it’s just as easy:

Operation.chores {
complaining: none;
enthusiasm: 85%;
competence: 100%;
willingness-to-see-it-through: 200%
}

Entitlement? A problem of the past!

Operation.gifts {
response: gratitude-sincere;
attutide: positive;
asking-for-more: please;
if-no: whining-off;
}

Uh . . . YEEEEAH. Right. My kids aren’t computers, and I’m betting neither are yours. For some reason, it’s sometimes hard to remember this, but kids are people. They come with their own preferences and penchants and personalities. Their default settings are the same as any adults’, really:

Default {
selfish: yes;
self-centered: yes;
ungrateful: yes;
minimal-regard-for-others: yes;
}

I kind of think they’re that way by design. The whole job of parents is to teach kids otherwise (hopefully so thoroughly that our defaults as adults aren’t the same!). But it takes a lot more than one line of code to change ingrained, inborn behaviors for a lifetime.

That’s why parenthood is so hard. It doesn’t matter how many times you teach a child to be grateful/not whine/not throw a tantrum because they don’t get something they want, they’ll probably do it again.

THAT DOES NOT MEAN YOU FAILED. It means your child is still a person and probably wants some control over his/her life. It means you have to keep teaching the same lessons you’ve taught a thousand times, probably a thousand more times—basically until your kids grow out of some of the behaviors. (I’m sure there are a few you can legitimately extinguish. Biting, maybe?)

And even then, even adults slip back into these natural-man behaviors. OVERCOMING THESE ID TENDENCIES IS THE BATTLE OF LIFE. I believe one of the major reasons why we came to earth is to learn to control our bodies, our urges, ourselves.

It starts in childhood with external instruction from our parents, but it never, ever ends. Neither does the battle of parenthood.

We will teach our children the same things over and over and over again. And they’ll still not learn it, or they’ll still act up, or they’ll still be people.

But you know what? That’s okay. Because I didn’t sign up for computers. I signed up for kids.

What do you think? Are your kids computers? Are you glad? Why?

Computer monitor photo by Brian/David

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What ever happened to hard work?

Once upon a time, there was a mystique to working one’s own land. Owning a farm was considered by a large part of society to be the pinnacle of achievement—you’d “arrived” once you obtained acreage. Hard work was a virtue, and an aspiration.

I doubt that I have to tell you that isn’t the mentality today. Most of us have learned to work just enough to get by. Even in motherhood, sometimes it’s easy to let the “okay” (PBS) supplant the “good” (playing with your kids).

There’s no way around it: motherhood—maintaining the home, providing meals, rearing children to become productive adults, sometimes even providing income for the family—is hard work. Even if we do just enough to get by, sometimes the work of motherhood is emotionally and physically exhausting.

So sometimes motherhood gets a bad rap. But you know what? I think we had it right centuries ago—though it’s often not fun or even interesting, hard work is good for us. It makes us grow and makes us stronger.

And, honestly, I have to hope that anything that requires this much effort can only be worth every ounce of myself that I put into it.

What do you think? What have you learned from the hard work of motherhood? How have you grown as a mother?

Photo by Sasha Wolff

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