Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Train a Boy

I'm undecided if this is a complete brag post or not, but I feel the need to document this in case I need a parent pick-me-up one day.

I, like most parents, love my boys unconditionally and think the world of them. They are extremely intelligent and kind hearted and funny and silly and absolutely perfect to anyone and everyone outside of this household should anyone ever ask me.

Now, I know they are full of flaws just like the rest of us. But this weekend, I had two separate conversations with each of them that have me a bit choked up thinking about, and making me feel like maybe they are completely perfect and better than every kid EVER... EVER.

It was Spring Break last week, and we did mostly nothing. No amazing trip to brag about  on Facebook or Instagram. No rodeo concert or carnival to "check in" to. Monday thru Wednesday the boys stayed with my parents and helped with yard work and earned some Spring Break cash. On Thursday I took them to the movies, and on Friday we were back at their Nana and Popo's house to swim in their new pool.

On Saturday, we ran errands and then had company over. This meant we did a huge house cleaning scramble, and all hands were on deck. The boys did their usual chores: clean the bathrooms, vacuum the stairs and all of the upstairs bedrooms, unload the dishwasher, and anything else ad hoc that I needed them to do as I tried desperately to make my house look presentable for our guests.

And they did it all with zero complaining, as usual. In fact, they would finish a task and say, "anything else I can do?" And the answer was always, "yes! Oh my gosh thank you so much for asking I love you so much! Please go and do blah blah blah!" And they would run off and do blah blah blah (with still no complaining!).

Bear with me here, that wasn't even the bragging part.

When the house was all clean, I told Joseph, "Babe, thank you so much for all of your help! That was huge and I couldn't have finished it without you!"

"You're welcome, Mom. Thank you for LETTING me help you!" <--- That was his response. Joseph's. My son. Who is 9...
Whaaat?! What 9 year old boy says that after he has scrubbed the toilets, vacuumed the stairs, unloaded the dishwasher and cleaned his room? And scrubbed the toilets? Sorry, I had to repeat that one. I was so proud of him. It was the sweetest!

(I thanked Isaiah later as well, and he gave me his usual silly, "No problem-mom-om-om." ♡)

So the party went off without a hitch, and we had a great time with some fellow Scout families. We grilled fajitas, made a Dutch oven enchilada casserole and a Dutch oven apple cobbler and played Mexican train until 1:30 in the morning.

Skip to Sunday night, and as everyone was getting ready for bed, I couldn't help but think of how crazy amazing my boys are. I thought, "I need to tell Isaiah how great he is and how proud he makes me."

I walked out of my bedroom, and he was walking towards me to say goodnight. I gave him a hug and kiss and held him for just a second longer and told him how proud of him I was at the young man he was becoming, and that I loved him so much.

His response? "Thank you, Mom. I love you, too. And thank you for MAKING me the young man that I am. I feel like it's a team effort." Whaaat?! Heart explosion. I love that almost 15 year old boy.

I laughed and high-fived him (because, I'm a dork-mom), and he proceeded to tell me how he just laid down with Joseph until he fell asleep  (since Joseph is still scared to go to sleep in his bedroom alone). He told me he also had just finished ironing his clothes for his first day back to school and was looking for his nasal spray so he could take it upstairs for his morning medicine routine. Again: Whaaat?! He just thanked me for being the world's best mom (or something extremely close to that, right?), and then told me he put his little brother to sleep and came downstairs unprovoked and ironed his school clothes.

That's right. My almost 15-year old son did that. After scrubbing toilets and vacuuming and unloading the dishwasher and SCRUBBING TOILETS just the day before for me. How crazy is that?!

I may be the only one blown away by this, and probably completely biased about it. I absolutely get that. But my boys truly are giving and kindhearted and loving and respectful, and it makes me feel like somehow Danith and I just might be doing something right. I wouldn't know exactly what that is. Maybe it's because we discipline our boys each in the way they need to be disciplined. We hear them. We spend lots of time with them. We laugh with them and joke with them. We trust them. We show them we value them. We pray with them. We say we're sorry to them when we have done wrong. We show them we're human too and acknowledge our mistakes to them. We are firm with them, but always fair to them. We speak well of them. We forgive them. We know them. We love them. 

Whatever the formula is, it's ours. It's not what everyone else says it is or should be. It's not in the books or magazines. It's not in the casual judgmental conversations of, "if that were my kid...!" It's our family's alone, just as everyone else's formula is their own as well. But surely, it's in much greater hands than ours, and I hope we never lose it...

Proverbs 22:6 Train a boy in the way he should go; Even when he grows old he will not depart from it.